Letting go & letting God

When it rains, it pours and I have been left holding the bucket to listen to three friends pour out their frustration, grief and bewilderment about what is happening in their life.

“Paul” started the parade last Sunday as he recalled how people have cheated, lied and taken advantage of his inability to fight a system ruled by cheaters and gamblers. All he ever aspired for was to excel in his chosen sport and livelihood but in recent times he has fallen victim to fixers, corrupt referees and judges, not to mention unreasonable employees who have demanded high compensation but have been short on their delivery.

As Paul first expressed his anger at the corruption in his sport, I unapologetically told him that if you associate with pigs chances are they will get mud on you and even trample you. He was well aware of that, but the money was good, so he would turn a blind eye until he got the short end of the stick.

Then the cheating or unfair calls became more often and more expensive. Then he started to lose money, which made him realize that his staff were no longer committed to their work and to winning. Still he put up with it, believing that money will be the motivation for everybody. But as a famous gambler once told me: “Everybody has a price” and it turned out that someone had offered his manager a higher price that Paul was unwilling to meet. As I listened, it became clear that Paul was looking at things on a compartmentalized basis. He talked about situations as separate events or problems and not as a string of interconnected events.

Cris had worked in his organization for a decade and contributed to exponential growth of its members. But a series of events, including the pandemic, had practically shut down their operations at the very same time that the organization had planned to transition the management of the organization to a smaller and younger team to fit the times. Many of Cris’ contemporaries had either retired or were let go and the pandemic simply sealed their fate or fast tracked the unpleasant transition for many.

Cris, on the other hand, had imagined himself staying for another two years in order to orchestrate the transition in his office. That made him blind to two things – he was already surrounded by the people waiting to take over and delaying his move meant delaying and wasting two years to find the new frontier or transition to his next life. Unfortunately, Cris found himself embarrassingly being pushed out of his position. It was as if to save the organization, he was required to lose face and that was a difficult cross to bear.

Then there is Lee. As guys go, Lee is a simple person who works really hard, is a very responsible single parent – widower and a true survivor of life. He survived losing his wife in an accident that almost took his life. He picked up the shattered pieces leftover from permanent partial amnesia and broken body. He recovered but became resentful from the tragedies as well as the subsequent persecution in local politics and recently he, like many of us, fell ill with COVID-19 but unlike many of us, he landed in the ICU for a few days and racked up a bill of several hundred thousand. How was a small income earner supposed to figure that out? What in heaven’s name was he doing wrong that could lead to such miserable situations?

Almost always, God sends people to me who are currently experiencing difficulties that I have either personally experienced or was somehow involved in directly. I also noticed that I often get the hard-headed ones who come with a load of excuses and justifications. They soon discover that I know what they are talking about, I understand what they are feeling and just like in the movie, my reaction is “Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” for the excuses and justifications! We talk about your problem in order to solve it, not stretch it.

I pointed out to my friends that “if everything does not seem to be going right, then there is something wrong.” Chances are “you” are in the center of what is wrong.

I told Paul that God, like many good parents, often gently tries to get our attention, tries to protect us from hurting ourselves, but sometimes lets us get the bumps and bruises in order for us to realize the potential hurt or injury in what we are insisting or persisting in doing. Paul had gone from sport to gambling, from an enthusiast to a hired player/fighter and was mingling with the very crowd that disrespected him. The bum deals were meant to call his attention.

Cris wanted to hold on to the familiar, the popular, the predictable. But just like Paul, Cris was like a kid who would not let go of a toy or a tablet that would soon cause him injury, as it eventually did to his pride and self-respect. The “job” and the title became the very handcuffs or chains that prevented Cris from seeing the Big Picture and God’s better plan. The minute holding onto it became painful it was easier to let go.

Lee had become so dependent on his abilities and his connections after walking out on God due to his past tragedy. But as he lay in his hospital bed, powerless and penniless, he was showered with greetings, well wishes as well as unexpected financial support from his former churchmates. That’s when he realized that God was still watching over him and fixing things he could not fix. He sheepishly admitted to me that it was him who walked away, not God.

God uses discomfort to indicate his disapproval, so many promises and plans of God were delayed by men who could not or did not “Move On” and we all have experienced God’s rescue when in our weakness God showed his strength.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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