During our downtime at home, my husband and I usually gravitate towards the den room where we spend our time watching T.V. etc. It was a Friday afternoon in early September 2017. We along with hundreds of other families had retired to our homes, now hunkered down awaiting the impending hurricane Irma which was scheduled to make landfall in just under forty-eight hours. Most of the local necessity stores, banks, private businesses, and government agencies had already closed their doors until further notice, all awaiting the fate that lay ahead. All U.S. and local networks had dubbed this hurricane as one of the largest and most dangerous natural disasters to ever hit the Caribbean islands. To say that most people were concerned is an understatement.
We anxiously watched the weather updates flashing across the television screen as I sat in the living room’s recliner chair holding my then nine-month-old son in my arms. Of course, as with all growing little baby boys, he never keeps still and every opportunity is an adventure or exploration! So he proceeded to lean over the armrest of the reclined chair in an effort to get to the ground; now tipped over the side of the chair head facing the floor he struggled and fought to loosen my grip around his waist. And as any responsible parent, I held on to him pulling him back from the danger that he clearly could not see…needless to say he remained focused on trying to release my grip to meet the floor. It was then that I firmly said: “What if I let you go?!” And at that very moment, reality and revelation collided!
In my mind, I had already fast-forwarded into time and saw the numerous unfortunate scenarios that could have resulted in me releasing my grip and allowing MJ to have his way. I saw him falling head first unto the cold hard tile floor, while we frantically tried to console a now inconsolable hysterically crying baby. I saw him not being able to move his neck without screaming out in pain, unable to articulate exactly what he was experiencing. I saw us having to fight through deteriorating storm weather to the hospital, which was a good distance from home, since all nearby private and public clinics would have already closed by now; staff members nestled safely in their homes with their families awaiting the impending storm. I saw us in the hospital’s ER waiting room for what would seem like forever to receive some sort of medical attention that would assure us that there was no serious damage done to our little one’s sensitive little head and neck. I saw us possibly having to wait overnight for x-ray results because of the other “more pressing emergencies” that the already overwhelmed medical emergency team were attending too. I saw what every concerned and first-time mother saw before it could happen.
Michael Junior at the time was completely unaware of the approaching storm, nor was he aware of the inconveniences and dangers that would have resulted from me simply just letting him go. At that moment in time, his main objective and goal was to get down off the chair…head first! Many years from now, MJ will not remember that day but I would hope that if I was to recount this very simple story he would be grateful and appreciate the principal it holds and that is- despite his fight, I did not allow him to have his own way, I did not let him go.
It is my belief that this is what God is saying to us regarding many of our desires, prayer requests and failed pursuits- “What if I let you go?” How many times have you wanted something so desperately, thinking that the very thing that you were pursuing with such intensity would somehow bring you the comfort, security, peace or success that you have always wanted? You strive for it, you prayed for it, sometimes even fasted for it- only to be disappointed because “life” pulled you back into what at the time felt like a never-ending struggle to fulfill this dream.
I don’t know if you can relate but I have had a few experiences where I wanted and pursued jobs and relationships. I mixed prayer with works and faith, hoping that my efforts would somehow land me that dream job just to be disappointed with letters of rejection. Then to find out years later, the company would suffer public embarrassment, bankruptcy or downsizing. I have pursued relationships, doing my part, praying and preparing to be that Proverbs 31 wife hoping that my efforts would somehow eventually lead to marriage, only to be disappointed and suffer heartbreak because God would allow the other person’s heart to become hardened or allow the relationship to somehow come to an end. Years later I would see that it was for the best. I would come to see from a distance, unfavorable characteristics in that person that I could not see before or perhaps find that our destinies took completely different paths. It was then that I reflected back and thanked God for not letting me go, for not answering my prayer by giving me what I wanted.
As a parent now, I can almost hear God saying to us sometimes “What if I let you go!?” “What if I allow you to get that job?” “What if I allow this relationship to get to the next level?” “What if I allow you to go that route?” And while we are pursuing our desires that are out of God’s will for our lives, we never see the dangers that we have been protected from until long after…We kick and fight and sometimes become angry with God for not answering our prayers.
Little did we know he has in fact answered. I read some years back that God gives us three answers to our prayers “Yes”, “No” and “Wait”. This philosophy has held true for me and brings me a sense of comfort when faced with disappointments.
We are usually elated when He tells us yes, that we can have what we have been desiring; but when He tells us “No, that is no good for you, it’s not my plan for you, or I have something better” we don’t accept that very well. Sometimes it’s not that God is denying us of our desires altogether, sometimes He is simply saying “Wait, you are not ready for that yet, you won’t be able to handle the level of responsibility that comes along with that position or I am still preparing you”.
Now almost a year later, my son can almost do summersaults off of the same recliner and without reservation, I gladly release my grip and allow him to roam free because he has gained enough strength in his legs to hold his weight and walk independently. He has completely developed his motor skills and is able to stand on his own two feet without me worrying about him falling and hurting himself. Sometimes God is allowing us to build momentum and character before letting us go. He sees every possible unforeseen circumstance that can result in prematurely granting us the “desires of our hearts” when we want it.
Paul said it best in Romans 5: 1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Perhaps there is a situation that you have prayed about and you see that the odds are not currently moving in your favor; maybe God has a different plan for your life and you cannot see it clearly yet. You have to possess the kind of faith that says “Even though I cannot see you moving I know that you are in control and you won’t let me go.” Maybe God is telling you that what you want is not what is best for you right now. Maybe he is telling you that He has something so much better in store, that when you get it, you won’t have any regrets. Maybe he is preparing you for a much greater position than you can see with your natural eyes. Remember that you serve a God who is omnipresent which means that he is present everywhere, he already saw what we couldn’t see. He is also omnipotent which means He is all-powerful and supreme, he has the ability to change any circumstance to suit his favor if He so desires.
How about we take some time out today to focus on the characteristics of God. Let’s learn about His nature so that our faith will be stirred up and when disappointments arise we have an eternal hope and confidence that says “God I know that you won’t ever let me go!”