Ever heard this little verse?
"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
(1 Peter 5:7)
How about this one:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
If you grew up in the church, your answer is "Yes, a million times"...I guarantee it. Ever gone through a tough, anxiety-invoking, real-life situation with no obvious way out? I'm not talking a "trial" or "testing of your faith", as we like to say to make it sound all churchy and not-really-that-hard. I'm talking about losing a job. Not having money to pay the rent. Failing at something you tried hard at. Real disappointment. Real worry. Really stuck.
How'd the above verses work out for you? If you're like me, you're driven to your knees and to your Bible when hard times hit. And that's an awesome thing. But, if you're like me, although you take comfort in these verses, your situation is still overwhelmingly real. If only you could physically take the worry and "present it" to God. Maybe then you could leave it with Him.
My problem has always been that I don't know how to trust Him with it completely.
I'll take this out of the hypothetical (without getting too specific) and tell you that there has been a situation in my own life for the past year and a few months. It was something I felt I had failed at and I simply did not know how to deal with it. I knew I needed to get in contact with a certain person connected with the situation because she had borrowed something of mine before the trial happened. I need and want it back. But to call her, to ask for it, would be to face a whole other area I simply have not had the courage to face. I just couldn't do it.
Even when thoughts plagued me of her selling my belonging on E-bay since she hadn't heard from me.
Even though I thought about the situation almost every day.
I simply could not do it.
And I didn't really know how to bring it to God, because how do you explain to Him that you are too cowardly to do what you know, as a mature, self-supporting adult, needs to be done? The answer seemed obvious to me...He would say, "Get over yourself and just do it."
But I couldn't.
Three dear, Godly women, Rebekah, Meeghan, and Teri have been doing a Bible Study with me this summer called "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter. It is through Beth Moore's ministry, and has been a lot of fun. This past week there was a quote in the book that jumped out and brought tears to my eyes. Gave me hope. Gave me my answer. Here it is:
If thou hast anything that perplexes thee, the simplest plan for thee will be, not to try to solve the difficulty, but to seek direction from heaven concerning it. If thou hast, at this moment, some doubt that is troubling thee, thy wisest plan will be, not to combat the doubt, but to come to Christ just as thou art, and to refer the doubt to Him. Remember how men act when they are concerned in a lawsuit; if they are wise, they do not undertake the case themselves. They know our familiar proverb,'He who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client'; so they take their case to someone who is able to deal with it, and leave it with him."
You may be thinking, "O-kay, that's a lot of 'thees' and 'thous'; where's the epiphany?" What I saw in that quote was that I could bring my situation to God and say: "Here this is. I have absolutely no idea what to do. I am unable to do anything because of my own fear and the complexity of the situation. Please help me." And that would be o-kay. I don't have to try and deal with it first. I could simply leave it with him the way a man would leave a complicated lawsuit with a top-notch lawyer.
Here it is. You take care of it. I simply can't.
It hit me then: that is, in essence, what He asks us to do in the above verses. That's what He wants when we are told to come "like a little child." Maddy doesn't give me suggestions on how to fix something for her. She doesn't worry for months on end about how she can fix it herself before bringing it to me. I simply, immediately, get the pieces, a pouty lip, a few tears and the words, "Mommy, it's broke. You fix it."
And I do.
And He does.
Friends, I told God I could not fix my situation because it was too big and I'm too small. And too scared.
The next day, out of the blue, I get a text message from a person I haven't spoken to for a year and a couple of months.
She wants to return my belonging.
Refer it to Him.