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Jesus take the wheel?? Makes a good song, right? But to give it to God and trusting Him in difficult times is often easier said than done! We often hear ‘let go and let God’ but HOW do you let go and let God be in control when you are going through trying times in life and every fiber of your being wants to hold onto the wheel? How do you trust God and let Him navigate the roads of life?
Trusting God in Difficult Times
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went through a really tough time. We were living somewhere that wasn’t working out for us. We could just feel the need to move on.
It was a bad move to begin with, but was necessary for him to complete his doctorate.
It just seemed like nothing was working out for us there. Even my daughter, who was in her first year of high school, wasn’t happy and didn’t feel she fit in.
It was time to move on, but that would prove to be easier said than done.
He started applying for jobs all throughout the country. In his career, you don’t just look at one location. You basically have to be willing to go where the opportunity presents itself. Since he had gotten every job he ever interviewed for we thought this would be easy!
We were wrong.
When You’re in the Wilderness Times
He had TONS of interviews! In fact, he had so many interviews I literally had to start a spreadsheet. I am not even joking.
I had to track all these phone interviews, and face-to-face interviews, where they were and the results of them. He was traveling all over the country on what seemed like a weekly basis and was usually one of two finalists for the position.
And yet one door after another slammed shut. He didn’t get the job.
We were at a loss. We didn’t understand what was going on! All of a sudden this man who always got the job wasn’t getting any!
Usually, it was because they would end up hiring an internal candidate or not hiring anyone at all! ‘Weird’ was the only way I could describe it. I am not just talking about one or two jobs. I am talking more like twenty!
It was honestly the most baffling time of our lives! It made no sense! One or two jobs, yeah I can see that. But tens of jobs? Something was going on!!
We were in our own personal wilderness with God leading the way, except we were too busy looking at where we THOUGHT we should be heading instead of looking for where God was leading us!
Then a job opened up in Connecticut where we had lived previously. My husband is from Connecticut originally and I had lived there for over fifteen years so it was really home for us. We had family there. We had really been wanting to move back home and here was this job that opened up! So of course, he applied.
He got the interview and flew to Connecticut and then, that same week, flew to another state for another interview.
While he was at the airport returning home from the interview in the other state, he called me. He said three words that still give me goosebumps.
“We’re going home!”
Letting Go and Letting God Work- Heading Into the War Room
He got the job back home in Connecticut and we would be returning home in about six weeks. I immediately broke into tears.
As I went about the rest of my day, beginning to make arrangements to move, something hit me.
Two months before all this happened, before we even started looking for jobs, my husband and my daughter had made me a War Room in our house. I would go in each day and spend time in prayer, blog there, etc.
On the wall was a sheet of paper where I wrote out what I was praying for!
I had at that time started praying that God would make a way for us to go back home. I prayed for it every day!
Because we were unhappy with where we were and what was going on there, because we were worried about finding another job, because we were focused on the NOW and that job in Connecticut wouldn’t even be on the radar for another six months, I had forgotten that I had even prayed for it!
It is Easier to Trust God When Not in Need
I was willing to let go and let God just answer that prayer His way when I added it to my prayer list, BEFORE the difficulties arose. But it was easy to forget that request and let Him be in control when I was in the middle of all these trials.
I was focused on the situation that we were in and the jobs that were available at THAT moment and couldn’t see that God was working to answer my prayers just because the answer wasn’t visible yet.
I had this plan for how God should have worked things. I always believed I was giving it to God but the reality was I was directing Him. We often do that, don’t we?
What Does Giving it to God Mean?
In this directing, we fail to give it all to Him and surrender to God’s will.
What does it mean to surrender to God and to give our situations or circumstances over to Him? First, let’s look at what the word “surrender” means.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “surrender” as:
1 a: the action of yielding one’s person or giving up the possession of something especially into the power of another
Oxford Dictionary defines it as:
abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to
It is the giving up or yielding to the “power” of another and to abandon yourself ENTIRELY to an “influence”.
The one I’d like to add which just struck me as I studied this word was also from Oxford and says:
cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority
This is the type of surrender you’d typically see in war movies or police films where someone gives themself up to either the enemy or to the authorities, whichever the case may be.
And God laid it on my heart that when we seek to do things OUR way and when we take it upon ourselves to instruct God on how He should handle our situation, we actually treat Him like an opponent because we don’t trust Him to handle our problem the way we deem acceptable.
We act as if He is our enemy rather than our Father, our Friend, our Savior! Jesus gave Himself up on a cross for us and yet somehow we doubt He has our best at heart!
So what does it mean to surrender to God? It means giving up! It means waving the white flag and saying “here am I, send me!”
It means letting go of the wheel and giving it to God!
Let Go and Let God – Jesus PLEASE Take the Wheel!
We often hear this saying (and the song!), but do we truly live it?
It is often as though we are on this road trip with God behind the wheel. We are traveling this road that we THINK we know. And we see a turn to the left and we shout “God! Take this road! I know this road…it is perfect!! It is a shortcut!! It’s a great way to go!!”
But God keeps going!
Then another turn to the right! “God! Take THIS road!!! This road is easy! This road has some great scenery! It’s so nice! I know you’d love for me to see this road!!”
But God keeps going!
“God, turn HERE! This is the last road!! If we don’t turn here we are going to end up somewhere I don’t know!! We may end up somewhere horrible!!!”
But He keeps going!
Then we arrive where God was leading and it is the most beautiful destination! It is better than anything we could have imagined!! And if God had granted our wishes and turned down any of those detours, we wouldn’t be in the wonderful place we are now.
I prayed for so many states, so many jobs, so many opportunities!! We looked into each area he was interviewing in and thought how awesome it would be to live there. And each time God drove on past it.
It wasn’t that any of these other places were bad; they were all good! They just weren’t best!
God was answering my prayers, the prayers I had even forgotten about by that time because of all the stress and because each location looked better than where we were!! I thought I was able to easily entrust it to God but truth was, I wasn’t trusting God enough to see Him moving.
I was saying “Jesus take the wheel, as long as you go where I tell you!” We want Him to take the wheel but WE want to navigate! We say ‘let go and let God’ as long as He is doing it the way we picture, rather than just giving it to God and letting Him lead!
Trusting God in Difficult Times
Trust that God is in control and He has a plan!
No matter what you THINK may look good, God has better. What we THINK we want may only scratch the surface of the wonderful things God has in store!!
God has brought us home and placed us in a part of the state that we are absolutely in LOVE with.
At the time we couldn’t understand how he had been a finalist for almost every single job he went for and didn’t get a single offer. And I realize now, if God had allowed him to get ANY job offer prior to this one, he would have taken it because we were SO miserable where we were. Then we wouldn’t be where we are now.
Trusting God in difficult times really shouldn’t be something to fear!! He’s got you!! God is in control! So take the map YOU brought on the trip and hand it over to God and don’t just let Jesus take the wheel, let Him do the navigating as well!
Letting God lead the way is the best option to get to where you want to go! He knows the roads far better than you!! Just let go and let God handle it!
What are some ways you have struggled to trust God in various situations? How did you overcome the temptation to handle it all yourself?
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. - NIV
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. - NIV
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. - ESV
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. - ESV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ESV
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. ESV
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ESV
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ESV
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ESV
6 Ways to Give it to God and Surrender Your Life Him BEFORE Problems Arise
Giving God Your Marriage
– Praying for your spouse DAILY and praying WITH your spouse (if they are a believer) can strengthen your relationship and keep the enemy at bay! There are some great books out there that teach you how to pray for your husband. If your marriage is facing difficulties, turn it over to God! Trust Him to give you wisdom about the best way to deal with issues as they arise. When you are tempted to argue, go to Him in prayer and ask Him to put a guard over your tongue so your speech is tempered with love.
Giving God Your Day
– Devote the first part of your day, set it aside and devote it to God. By giving your day, you not only set the tone but you can bring potential issues before the throne before they become problems!
Giving God Your Children
– I always speak the Aaronic blessing over my children and my grandson each and every morning when I pray. I speak over each of them by name and say “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh. May He make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah (obviously I have sons AND daughters). May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you. May He turn His face toward you and grant you peace in Jesus’ Name.” I cover all my children each day in His love and protection and when they face things in life I stand in the gap for them and surrender it to Him in prayer.
Giving Him Your Home
– Walk through your home and pray over every room! If there is a particular room where there always seems to be arguments or disputes arising, pray a special prayer of protection over that room and dedicate it to God. Reclaim it for Him. Dedicate each room of your house to the Lord so nothing but love and peace and joy dwells there.
Giving God Your Mind
– The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV
Renew your mind through reading the Word, meditating on it, praying it. Keeping God’s Word at the forefront of you mind will help you easily recall it when trouble arises. When your mind starts to race with all kinds of thoughts that either defeat you, steal your joy or cause you to wrestle for control, give it to God! Surrender your thoughts to Him!
Giving God Your Friendships
– I am blessed to have friends that I can call upon (and I am blessed to have them feel they can call upon me) for not only prayer but counsel. In fact, I just had a friend call me because she needed confirmation of something she felt the Lord was showing her. By committing ALL your relationships to the Lord, you can get clarity, prayer and counsel when trouble arises (and more importantly, even before). If you are having difficulty in a friendship, give it to God and ask Him to guide you on next steps.
Questions to think about (and share in the comments if you’d like!):
- What ways have you struggled to trust when you are in wilderness times?
- How did you overcome that desire to hold onto the wheel?
- How did you let go and let God handle it?
- How did trusting God help you the next time you faced difficulties?
- Did it help to strengthen your faith?