Within the Church we often advise each other to turn things over to God. What this usually means is we start telling everyone that we are leaving whatever it is in God’s hands, but we are still worrying and fretting over it. We are still trying to solve it or make it better. We say we’ve left it in God’s hands, but the reality is we never let go of whatever it is we are claiming to have turned over.
The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. – John 4:49-54, ESV
Remember that official who came to Jesus? He had to travel to meet up with Jesus. The man’s intent was to find Jesus and bring the Lord back to his household. However, Jesus told the official that his son was going to live. In short, Jesus was telling the man that there was no reason for Jesus to go anywhere. The official believed Jesus. We don’t see any more pleading. We don’t see any hand-wringing. We are simply told the man believed and headed home.
The official had turned the matter over to Jesus. If Jesus said it was done, that’s all he needed to hear. Armed with those words, the man headed back home. On the way back, he received excellent news: his son was on the road to recovery. Inquiring further, the official learned that the moment his son’s fever broke was the moment he trusted Jesus. He had turned the matter over to God and accepted the outcome and God had answered. In this case, God answered in the way the official had requested: his son recovered.
For us, the lesson here is that when we turn something over to God, we have to let it go completely. We have to trust and believe that God is going to take the best course of action. God is going to work out the details. In short, we have to believe God is going to answer our prayers. Saying we’ve turned something over and then continuing to try and solve it on our own means we don’t trust that God will answer. Or we don’t trust that He will act in the best way. Our actions say that we don’t trust God. There’s no way around this.
If something is truly bothering us, I know it’s hard to let it go. Most of us struggle with this. I know I do. However, God repeatedly counsels us not to worry, but to turn to Him and let Him share our burdens. We have to try and obey. We can even pray for help being obedient in turning things over to Him. We can pray for Him to help us believe and trust in Him more.
In closing, keep in mind that turning something over doesn’t absolve us of further action. God may lead us to do something about whatever it is that’s bothering us. This isn’t a “fire and forget” type of thing. In the official’s case there wasn’t anything left for him to do other than trust. However, our given situation may mean we have a lot to do. Turning something over to God means we yield the problem completely over to Him and trust and follow in His Lordship over us. As a good Lord He may have instructions for us. We must believe and trust in those instructions and act according. There’s a lot of believing and trusting in all of this, isn’t there? But that’s what it means to turn something over to the Lord.