What If I Just Let Go?

I read a story this morning that disturbs me.

A missionary had been a bed-ridden invalid for eight years. During that time she prayed for healing so she could do the work to which she’d been called. No response.

Finally she got tired of asking. Basically she said, “Okay, you decide if I’m going to be healed or not. I want You more than I want health anyway.”

Two weeks later the woman was out of bed and completely healed.

So you’re wondering: why am I disturbed by a wonderful story of miraculous healing?

I believe that God can, and does, heal. Often He accomplishes healing through medicine and the skill of a doctor’s hands; sometimes He heals in ways that are scientifically unexplainable.

I also believe that it’s good to relinquish our desire to control and determine acceptable outcomes. “Your will be done” is always the right thing.

So what’s the problem?

This story bothers me because it encourages a sort of subtle attempt to manipulate God. I’m sure that’s not the intended message, but I suspect many folks hear a formula for getting God to comply. If I say the right thing, adopt the right attitude, then God will finally bless me.

I know I can’t trick God into giving me what I want, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I may fool everyone else with false humility or piety or whatever, and sometimes I mistake their affirmations as evidence that I’m doing it right. Silly me.

Sometimes I even fool myself, because I’m not very good at understanding their own motivations. So I may believe I’m doing the right things for the right reasons, but frequently I’m only good at self-deception.

But God’s not fooled. He knows my heart. He sees my true motives even when I don’t.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” [Genesis 12:1-2]

Abraham picked up his entire household, abandoned comfortable surroundings, and journeyed to a land he’d never seen. Why?

We’re tempted to make a connection between obedience and blessing. He did as God commanded, so God rewarded him. But that’s wrong.

Abram obeyed—period. He didn’t do it to get something from God. He couldn’t possibly imagine what God would grow from the seed of his actions. I’m sure he wondered and doubted.

In the years following my injury, I tried every imaginable strategy to get God to heal me. I’m sure He smiled and gently shook His head as I bargained and promised, but nothing changed.

Nearly ten years later, I finally reached the end. I simply couldn’t struggle any more, and I told God that this was His deal (like He didn’t already know). I basically said, “I got nothing. Whatever You want to make of this mess is up to you.”

And my injury didn’t change one bit. I didn’t walk away, and I’m still rolling around. No miracle cure, no happy ending—so apparently God said, “No.”

That’s not how I see it. When I finally let go and relinquished my desire to control and manipulate Him, He gave me something much more precious than physical strength. He showed me what had always been right in front of me.

He showed me the cross and His boundless love. Rather than giving me what I wanted, He provided what I needed.

Let go and let God …

Is it really that simple?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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