Let Go and Let God: Learning to Rejoice during Trials

There is a saying in recovery groups to “Let go and let God.” This mantra reminds me that I am not in control, God is. This is a good thing! God loves me so much! He has a good plan for my life, and the faster that I can let go of my own desire to control – whether it be people, outcomes, or even my progress in an area – the faster I can experience his peace in the midst of not having my desires fulfilled.

Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Fear competes for my faith. I can believe the lies of fear, or I can believe God, but I can’t do both. I fear that my marriage won’t work out. I fear that I’m not doing a good job raising my kids. I fear that I’ll lose my job. I get angry when I want something to go my way and it doesn’t. I have opportunity after opportunity to complain, and I have equal opportunity to be thankful. There is so much peace that comes from saying, “Hey, God, thank you so much for my husband. He is such a great guy. I pray you will strengthen our marriage” rather than mulling over what a particular tone meant.

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way that I wanted, and I don’t understand it. There were times in my life when I was betrayed by people whom I loved, and I couldn’t comprehend it. I’ve lost people whom I loved dearly. How can Paul, the writer of Philippians, possibly expect me to rejoice during times when my heart is shredded and God feels so distant? It seems ludicrous, even cold, but the truth is that rejoicing in the midst of a storm is stepping out in faith. It is saying, “God even though this situation is awful, You are good. I will cling to your goodness.” It’s that sort of mindset, putting my faith and hope in God, that has been a light in the darkest times.

Paul doesn’t say to rejoice in your circumstances, he says to rejoice in the Lord. God is good, and I always have a reason to rejoice in Him. That means that my circumstances can bring tears to my eyes and gut-wrenching pain, but my lips can still sing God’s praise.

I can let go because God is in control.

I can let go because God is a good God even if my circumstances aren’t.

I can let go because God’s peace will fully eclipse my limited understanding.

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