Not Ours, but His
We like to be in control. It’s human nature, really. How much better would the world be if people did what we told them? Taking it a step further, if Christians had control over the minds and hearts of everyone on the planet, what a world it would be, right? If we operated from the assumption that we had all the answers, then boom! No wars, no famines, no cruelty toward animals, no homelessness, no unemployment, no discussions that make us uncomfortable, and no arguments over things we don’t consider valuable. We would point everyone else in the right direction, and all would be well.
So why aren’t we in control?
Why are we actively engaged in discussions in our churches that make us so uncomfortable they threaten to disrupt our unity and divide us? Why are there real and serious problems among us that shouldn’t affect “our kind” but do regardless?
We can blame sin, and we should blame sin. But we also know the remedy to sin.
Nonetheless, things proceed here on earth in manners that are not to our liking. Our candidates/parties/affiliations are not elected to the offices we want them in, and it causes us so much distress. Our churches and schools are not always functioning the way we think they should, and we cast “side eyes”—both literal and theoretical—at the perceived offenders of our values and our traditions. And we hold on. We hold on so tightly to what we want so desperately to control.
Then we spin our wheels, waiting and waiting for others to see things “our way.” Of course we aren’t running willy-nilly, making up rules as we go. We study our Scriptures, we pray, and we seek the will of God to define our goals and the methods we will use to achieve them. Yet one person’s answer from the Lord can sound very different from the answer given to another. So we sit at impasses.
What could we be doing wrong?
It happens to all of us at points in our lives. Our children are not moving in the direction to which we’ve spent years pointing them. How can we control that? Our finances or career trajectories are not going where we want them. What do we do to get it just right? How much harder do we need to work? Our plans for further education are admirable—noble, even. But things are not clicking. We are determined beings, so we try and try and try to get things to go our way. And nothing budges.
But if we just stop our grand efforts for a moment and consider the following verse, we are clearly told what’s what: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:10).
We may believe our lobbying, our pleading, our cajoling, even our threatening, is necessary. But God is clear. He will be exalted—in all things—and He doesn’t need us to achieve this through the meager methods of humanity.
Another year has passed quickly. For some it has been a good one, and for others it has been terrible. If you are fortunate, maybe it was just a middle ground type of year where everything was in balance. But now we stand on the cusp of a new year: the Lord has not seen fit to return for us yet, and it’s time to stop trying to control what isn’t ours to control. Perhaps 2015 is our moment to truly grasp the concept of Carrie Underwood’s song “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”
I love this verse from the well-known hymn “This Is My Father’s World.” It reminds me regularly that everything will happen in our Savior’s good time: “This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.”
That’s really all there is to it. And that’s enough.