OUT OF CONTROL
Think of a time when things felt out of control. What scene are you looking at in your mind's eye? I see a few different things...
I see the day one of my close friends died in a tragic car accident.
I see getting to the hospital each time my wife was ready to give birth to one of our kids (some rides were more chaotic than others)
I see the day Jace got really sick all of a sudden and the panic I felt to get him some help.
I see a room full of 60-70 4th-5th graders playing a game I invented that was NOT going the way I thought it should go.
I see a gas receipt that shows a total of $90 for one tank of gas (and it wasn't even empty all the way)
Those are some of the things, I see, but I know you have your own list. We all do. There are days, weeks, months, and sometimes years that feel out of control. We are just hanging on and hoping that we don't get run over by life.
Those feelings of not being in control can be scary. They can bring anxiety, worry, and ulcers if you're not careful. But I was reminded this week, from God's Word, that even when I think things are out of control, I can look to God who is always in control.
JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL
Understanding that we are not in control is central to having peace and confidence in God when things start to go crazy around us. The best thing we can do is recognize that.
David wrote about things feeling out of control in the Psalms. He was being chased and hunted by King Saul. David had to hide in caves and dodge spears. He was running for his life.
But through it all, he showed incredible faith in God. Look at what he wrote in Psalm 62:5-8:
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge
You can hear the confidence in his voice, can't you? He is completely trusting that God is in control. So much so, that he states he "will not be shaken." What a comforting thought.
Remember those out of control situations you just thought of? What if you had the same confidence in God that David did? How would that have changed your perspective in the moment? How would you have handled it differently?
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
Paul also recognized that it is God, not us, that is ultimately in control and he was able to view his struggles (including persecution, shipwreck, beatings, and more) in a different light. Check out what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (emphasis added)
The whole reason God uses us, is not because we are super-Christians or amazing people. We are jars of clay. Ordinary, breakable vessels that God can use to show his amazing power and glory through.
That's why Paul knew that, even though he may be attacked from every side, perplexed by the obstacles in his way, and persecuted for his faith, he could trust that God would show himself strong through his circumstances. That's some incredible confidence in an incredible God.
TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
I love the hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" Here is the chorus:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in his wonderful face And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim In the light of his glory and grace.
You and I can turn our eyes to Jesus in any and all situations. Why? Because he is and always will be in control.
David understood that, and he was confident that nothing, no matter how bad, could shake his faith in God.
Paul also understood the truth that God is in control. He was able to face down incredibly difficult people and circumstances to accomplish amazing things for God.
Now it's your turn. What is out of control in your life that you need to turn to God for? Don't wait. Spend some time in prayer this week asking God to help you trust that he is in control. Ask him to strengthen your faith and trust in him.
When you do...the things of earth will grow increasingly dim in the light of God's glory and grace.
God, You know that I have a hard time trusting You in what I feel are chaotic and out of control situations. Help me to remember, in the crazy, that You are God, and that You are in control. Strengthen my faith and trust in You. Help me not to overreact or turn away from You. I want to draw nearer so I can see and hear you better. Thank you for being in control. I praise You, in Jesus' name, amen!
What verse has God brought to mind in your life when things get chaotic? How does it help you refocus on God and his plan?