We do our part, and God does His. There are some things that only we can do, (because God won’t do them for us), and then there are other things that only He can do.
I was sitting in my car at a local garage years ago, waiting to be attended to, when my phone rang, and I got the dreadful news that someone who I thought was a friend, (I’ll call her ‘E’ for the purpose of this article), had said and done some things that dragged my name in the mud of local gossip.
Time seemed to stand still, and everything I felt in those moments cemented together to determine how I would move forward in my dealings with people in the years to come.
Many of my life’s choices have the imprint of E’s lies and rejection all over them; and I have never denied that she continues to influence me even now. But I also know that Jesus came to give us abundant life, and by allowing E to continue to determine how I interact with other people, I am not making room for freedom for myself.
Acknowledging my hurt because of what she did and my response of choosing to protect myself from ever being in a similar situation, is a first step in doing my part to gain my freedom.
Analyzing the situation with the goal being freedom, I can now see that E was messed up herself, incapable of receiving from me. I, too, was messed up, ‘helping’ her from a place of clouded motivation. Maybe there were areas in which she was right, and I couldn’t, or didn’t want to, see her point of view. I didn’t have the emotional capacity to sift through what E did in a healthy way. I took it all personally and allowed her actions to influence mine – until now.
What’s next is that I am ready to lose the E effect; but I can’t handle it on my own. I am not the same person I was on the day I got the call about E, but I’m acting as if I am. She hurt me and I’ve let her actions affect my decisions all these years, but I don’t want that to be the case anymore. My part in moving forward is to acknowledge that; the rest of it is a supernatural work.
I choose to forgive her for what she did and said, understanding now from the viewpoint of life lived, that she only knew how to be who she was.
I also choose to forgive myself for my natural immaturity, my cloudy motivations, and my response to the situation.
What is the supernatural work?
Only after I decide that I want to be free of E’s influence, can the supernatural work that I need be done in my life. I can’t do it myself. By acknowledging all of it, then saying to the Father that I’m ready to be free, I am making room for God to do His part in this work.
I come to Him with my heart in my hand, realizing that my part in this healing process is acknowledging that I need His healing, freedom, and release, and that His part is to do what He’s promised – to bring freedom to the captives.
It’s a partnership: I do what I can, and He does the rest as I submit to His healing power that is beyond what my imagination can even begin to conjure up. I say it is a partnership because it is possible for me to acknowledge the E effect on my life and not be healed. If, as a Christian, I think that all the work is up to me, and I need to read all the self-help books on the matter, listen to as many sermons as I can, and take all the steps they all recommend, then I refuse the Hand that is outstretched to help me, I am choosing to carry the entire burden of my growth, healing, and freedom; but that is not the way it is supposed to be.
How does the supernatural work happen?
What does this supernatural work look like? It’s different by case and by person. Just as the stories of Jesus’ miracles differed from person to person, so this supernatural work that you need, might come in a way that no one else has ever experienced. For some it can take years, for others it is instantaneous. It might come through a person that Lord directs you to, or a song, or a sermon. It could happen while you sleep, or while reading a book. Or, you may be walking or exercising, and suddenly you feel differently about the matter for which you are seeking freedom.
The key is to be expectant that He will do it as He promised. Once you have done your part and come to a point in the process where you have gone as far as you can, and in utter dependence say, “Lord, You have to take it from here. I have done everything I can. Please come do the supernatural work that I can’t do.”, He will do it. Pray with expectation and anticipation, and don’t give up hope.
As you grow, heal, and mature, this process will be repeated often in your life for different reasons. This is not a doctrine of ‘the Lord helps those who help themselves’; if it were, then the self-help books would be all we need. In His lifetime, Jesus didn’t go around healing people indiscriminately. Instead, there was a request from someone, and then His response. Someone reached out and touched His garment, (Luke 8:43-48), a sister sent a message that her brother was sick and dying, (John 11:1-25), friends lowered a man through the roof, (Luke 5:17-39), and Jesus asked an obviously lame man, “Would you like to be healed?”, (John 5:1-18), and so on.
This kind of dependence doesn’t come easily. It has to be nurtured and practiced until it becomes a lifestyle and a mindset. It goes against our culture; but I’ve seen it work so many times, that once again I go to the Lord with heart in my hand, this time about E’s influence on my life. I go requesting freedom and a new perspective, because I’ve done my part, and totally expect and anticipate that He will do His part, that supernatural work that I need, and know that I can’t do on my own.