The Word of God is always home for the believer seemingly even more so when we are experiencing the rough roads often dealt by life. While we are well aware “…In the world we will have tribulation…” (John 16:33). When problems arise knowing they are coming does not always make the road any easier. We know what we should do as the Psalmist tells you to “Cast your burdens upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you…” We also read in 1 Peter the letter from Peter written to believers who were under intense persecution in 1 Peter 5:7 Peter reminds his audience to “Cast all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”
It has become so easy to misread these passages to mean that God is a magic problem-solver, a genie whose main job is to make us happy today. I love the phrase “Let go and let God” because it sounds so simple. Actually, the Bible never tells us to “let go and let God. “It’s easy to assume that casting our troubles on God means He will take all our troubles away. Contrary to some of our modern theological teaching God did not instruct Jesus to make everyone happy His mission was to save us from ourselves so to speak and reconcile us to a just God.
Many people believe that if they are truly in a state of “letting go,” they will be able to cease from striving and struggling. But Jesus said that they are to “strive” to enter the narrow gate to eternal life (Luke 13:24), not to sit by and wait to die to gain heaven. By striving, He means that we should be diligent, active, and earnest and that we should make every effort to overcome our sinful tendencies, in order to demonstrate to the dark lost sinful world that we are truly His children. We are also to strive to do the work of the Kingdom, whatever form that takes in our lives. This is the reason He gives us spiritual gifts, so that we can edify one another and bring glory to Him.
Furthermore, when we struggle, we assume the problem is that we are not letting go and letting God. The reality is in this life we will have struggles. When trials and tribulations knock on your door in the form of illness, financial ruin, or the death of a loved one, do you really believe that “God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)? If you don’t know God intimately, it’s very hard to trust that He is working all things together for your good. But if you do know Him, if we have spent time with Him and His Word meditating on His works and His nature, exercising your faith in His plan and purposes, His love for you, His sovereign control over all circumstances in every aspect of your life, then you are able to rest in His peace the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). But if you don’t intimately know Him, unfortunately you will always struggle against life’s tough circumstances.
When you know Him you understand there is a positive reason for struggling—Trials are designed to show us and others that our faith is real. “Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns” (1 Peter 1:7).
The popular phrase “Let go and let God” can be summed up in a few words: We need to let go of our own will. Just as Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). We need to let go and let God do what He wills. This submission will lead to peace and joy, even in the midst of a storm.