Giving God a Hand
About twenty years ago, I had surgery on my wrist. Don’t worry; I’ll spare you the gory details. Suffice it to say that, although my doctor recommended a general anesthetic, I thought I’d be brave and have a “local” (BIG mistake). Before they put my arm to “sleep,” they put a sheet up so I couldn’t see. I was lying on my back and the doctor held my hand up as he administered the local. Unbeknownst to me, he then laid my arm down to work on it. Because my arm was deadened, I still felt that it was held aloft and because of the sheet, I couldn’t see where it really was. As the surgery commenced, I felt the need to help him hold my arm up and as time passed I developed a severe cramp in my shoulder from the effort of holding up an arm that was actually laying flat on a table.
Perhaps it’s my personality, more likely just my humanness, but I often find myself doing the same thing with God. There are things I’ve given to Him, entrusted to Him, yet I still feel I must maintain my grip, influence and control over the situation. The more I hold on when He’s told me to let Him do surgery, the more I get in His way and only inflict pain upon myself. I worry and fret and have the audacity to think that the God of the universe, Who holds all in His capable hands, needs my help
I know there are times when God calls me to act, to even partner with Him in order for me to grow stronger, but honestly I know there are times He’s told me to place something in His Hands, lay down and let Him do surgery. And I rarely grow more than when I am called upon to trust Him implicitly. The strength that comes through those experiences is rarely acquired by any other experience.
The Israelites in captivity in Babylon had difficulty with this lesson as well. Jeremiah had told them that they would be there 70 years, that they should settle down and make themselves at home in this strange new land. But they did not want to believe it; this was not what they wanted to hear! They wanted to believe that they would go home immediately. However, as they began to listen to Jeremiah’s message, God did a new thing in their hearts and in their community. Their captivity solidified them as a community and made them even richer in their heritage. As for their hearts, they no longer were able to sacrifice and worship at their beloved temple, so a greater dedication to prayer and a new internal devotion to God and His law was born. When they finally left Babylon, they left stronger for the experience.
Just as my wrist is better now that I submitted to the surgery, my life will be better as I submit to the surgery God needs to perform and allow His wisdom and plan to reign in my life. To let go sounds so easy, but can be the hardest thing to do. Although trusting God with the outcome of something sounds so logical, when the rubber meets the road, it is difficult to let Him have things that are dear to us. But God does not drop the ball. We can entrust ourselves to our loving Physician, knowing that He alone knows the best thing for us.