Playing Tug of War With God

Growing up, I can recall what we used to call a  “Field Day”  held at our elementary school toward the end of the school year. I always looked forward to this time. A day of no school work, and we would get to go outside all day long and compete in different events we would choose. Some events would be mandatory, others would not. My favorites would be any type of running or relay games. My least favorite would have to be tug of war. The rope was always rough to the touch and the back and forth pulling from each team just seemed pointless to me. For someone who is not a fan of that game, I seem to find myself quite often in a tug of war with God.  Have you ever been there?

I hate to admit it, but I engage in this type of behavior with God when problems arise. I hand them over to him only to pull them back. I am a pro at it and if they gave out ribbons, I am sure I would have a stack of blue ones. You know, you’re going along and life is good and then boom, here comes a problem or trial staring you dead square in the eyes. Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you didn’t. I found myself one weekend facing an issue that left my blood pressure high and my nerves shot. The tension in my neck and shoulders was unbearable and the lack of sleep the previous night just added to the stress. When we deal with other individuals, it can be really hard because we have no control over their actions or behavior.  As much as I wanted to fix it, I could not. I knew that the only thing I could do was pray. Pray for those involved and also pray for myself. I needed to loosen my grip on this burden and let God have it. This took many attempts for me. I would ask God to take it, but then take it right back with my thoughts. I would worry, stress and get angry again repeating this vicious cycle. Nothing positive was coming from how I reacted to the situation.  I remember a moment, lying in my bed, asking God to help me surrender this to him and leave it there. I recall literally holding out my fist, which was tightly bound,  and slowly one finger at a time releasing my grip until my hand was completely open and relaxed. It was a visual sign that I needed to help me surrender it over to God. It was at that moment, that I truly cast my cares upon God for the current situation. It was then that some peace began to settle over me and I could feel the tension in my body start to ease.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time : casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

Why is it so hard to let go and just let God? He says in scripture to cast our cares upon him for he careth for us, so why are we so unwilling to do so? I have talked to others and it seems that many of us struggle with this. Letting go is not our first reaction. We contemplate, we fret, we stress, we worry. It is an ongoing cycle that leaves us drained mentally and physically. I pray that when I am facing a problem, I can become better at releasing it to my heavenly Father. My first reaction should be to go straight to God and lay it at his feet. And not only lay it there, but leave it there. That is the most important action for us to do. I never liked tug of war as a kid, so why I engage in it so often now just baffles me. My hope is that as I am growing as a Christian, I can loosen my grip on the problems that may arise, and cast them at the feet of Jesus. He is our shield and our refuge. When we don’t see a way, we can trust that He does. With our prayers and obedience, he can get us through the trials that we will face. He is a good God and he loves us more than we will ever know. So the next time you feel that tugging going on between you and God, I encourage you to release your grip and trust him with whatever trial you may be struggling with.

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

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