I don’t like to admit this, but I’m a bit of a control freak. Sure I can go with the flow, and most people would say I’m pretty laid back. But that’s just because I think I can influence the flow. I know where that flow is going, so I’m content to just ride along.
I’m not alone. Most of us are control freaks. We love thinking we’re in charge. We structure our lives, our schedules, and even our relationships in ways that we can control. But is this how we should live as Christians?
I don’t think it is.
Not because there’s anything wrong with influencing things around you. But because we don’t want influence, we want absolute control. And when that illusion of control finally breaks, what happens? We become angry, stressed out, and frustrated. Hardly Christian responses!
I have been thinking about this a lot this week. You see I’m unexpectedly in the middle of buying a house. I didn’t expect to buy a house a week ago. And now I’ve made an offer. The biggest worry I have is what might happen in some imaginary future. What’s the resale value going to be? How are my neighbors? Is this the right location for where I want to live?
All of those are good questions to ask. But the more I tried to wrestle with them, the more I realized I can’t control those outcomes. What if I buy a house that looks good now, but a mall developer comes in and buys a bunch of houses around me? I can’t control that. What if I buy a house and traffic patterns change so that it’s harder to get to and less safe for my family? I can’t control that.
There are a thousand things I can’t control.
Take a look at Europe right now. There’s an unexpected volcanic eruption happening that’s disrupting the flight patterns of hundreds of thousands of people. I suspect many of them are on vacations or business trips. Some probably are losing thousands of dollars by missing non-refundable trips. Did any of them plan for that?
I bet a lot of people thought they could control everything: their schedule, their money, their time. In the end, a giant volcano had different ideas.
We live in a world that says we can control everything. That if we make all the right decisions only good things will happen (some even believe that if you’re “good enough” God will make sure only good things will happen to you). But that’s a lie. Volcanoes erupt. People get cancer. Accidents happen. Life is a mess.
Instead we need to give up that control. I know, I know, that doesn’t seem to make sense. But it’s the way the Kingdom runs. We need to trust that God’s in charge. This doesn’t mean nothing bad will happen. We live in a fallen world. Random crap is part of that falleness. What trusting God means is that we don’t worry about all the random crap because in the end, we will be taken care of. That “end” might come when we die. Or it might come while we’re alive. But in the end, God will always take care of us.
We may not be able to count on volcanoes, or weather men, or the economy, or even family members. But we can always count on God. And frankly that sounds like a better bet to me anyways.
photo provided by flickr user Casey Serin