A loved one who no matter what you say just will not accept what Jesus did for them on the cross. You can’t make them believe.
An illness that grips you, weakens you, causes excruciating pain. You can’t heal yourself.
You can’t find work. You can’t make a job appear out of thin air. You feel stuck.
Plans that you’ve planned for months, that are good things, and at the last minute they don’t work out. You couldn’t have predicted that.
A friend you’re investing in spiritually who you just can’t convince that Jesus is better than the sin they keep holding on to. You can’t grow them.
Anxious thoughts and worry about the future, that go like this: How will it work out? What will you do? How can it possibly be okay? You can’t fix everything, and you can’t see into the future.
Learning that I am not in control has been by far the hardest lesson that I’ve ever begun to learn. But if I don’t let go of my imaginary powers soon, I will run myself down with more anxiety, more fear, and more distrust. It’s really time to be okay with someone else being in control over my life and destiny.
God is love. The Bible is clear on that. Author Jerry Bridges taught on trusting God during his ministry on earth, and he focused on three aspects of God’s character that when believed and meditated on in our circumstances, can bring us peace. God is perfectly wise and all-knowing about everything there is to know, He is incredibly loving towards us in a steadfast, unchanging way, being completely good down to His core, and He is timelessly sovereign, over everything, always, being the King in full control.
He knows the “just right” circumstances to bring into your life and has a purpose for them to train you to become more like Jesus and to grow your faith in Him. Pain, sickness, loss – every hard thing in this life is intended to draw us closer to Him in both reliance/trust and godliness.
…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3b-5
There are a few times in this life when we can change habits, walk away from situations, and exercise responsibility that will lead to less suffering. But usually, we are not in control of what hardships we must endure in this life. We know that God is in control, but will we believe and trust Him to make the right decisions for us?
Wives, you can’t control your husbands. Husbands, you can’t control how your wives act. Pastors, you can’t make your congregations listen and receive God’s life-filled words. Mothers, you can’t always make your children behave. Believers, you can’t make your friends believe. These are hard, hard things. Especially when our hearts are breaking for them, and especially when their actions effect our lives. But here’s the thing: us trying to exercise a control that we don’t have will lead to stress and frustration, and frustration to anger, and anger to an indifference or worse, a lack of love. In other words, the fruit of you not trusting God with them, and your frustration towards them, if not dealt with, will lead to you not looking like Jesus to them, because you probably won’t be loving them the way He loves. Listen people, we can’t control people! We can do what we can do, and we are responsible for that. But at the end of the day, we can’t make their decisions for them, even when their decisions effect us. But God can do a work that no person can do. Just look at what His Word says:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He will.” – Proverbs 21:1
What?!? God can change a person’s heart so easily, whenever and however He wants? That is an incredible truth that we both need to rest in and submit to. His goodness. His power. His timing. His purpose.
Life…is hard. We have many circumstances that are almost completely out of our control. The weather, job stability, how people will receive us, bad drivers, the government – we could make a list of our worries a mile long, but what Jesus says is that our worrying actually profits nothing. Do you believe that?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Jesus, Matthew 6:27
So, Jesus, You’re saying that every ounce of my worrying, stressing, and anxiety over life actually accomplishes…nothing??? That’s right. But if I’m not going to worry about things, then I need to put my trust in Someone who can do something about it. Someone who knows what’s best. Someone who is for me, and not against me. And who is that? You know… 🙂 It’s God.
Based on the verse we just read in Matthew, I can’t add an hour to my life by worrying. But God already has planned and knows the span of the hours for our lives completely, and His plans always come to pass.
The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.” – Isaiah 14:24
I’m not even in control of when I live or die. David writes to the Lord,
…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:16b
All of them. From before day one, until your last day, and throughout eternity, God has been and is in complete control of your existence. He created you for Himself. It’s an exercise of authority that He has, and you don’t have.
This is not at all meant to bring us down. It’s meant to set us free! It is good that God is in control, because, well, He’s GOD, and we are just, well, us. As I see God teaching me these things, I feel like I’m coming to a place of acceptance, a place of letting go and surrendering to His plans, purposes, and promises. Perhaps I’m even starting to rest in His loving control.
One of my biggest fears ever in this life is that I can somehow screw up my relationship with God and lose my salvation, lose His love, and lose eternity. Of course, this fear is invalid and unbiblical, which the verses that follow will prove. But in my distrust, I fight for control that I don’t have by trying to keep my faith just right, so as to not fall away from Jesus. And while we are commanded and warned to keep the faith (to not walk away from Him and the hope of the Gospel, that He died for all our sins to make us right with God), I think that this fear in me has become all-consuming, to the point where I’m no longer just trying to be faithful, I’m trying to keep myself saved. And this is where the hardest lesson hits the biggest fear, when I have to let go of trying to keep myself secure, and trust the One who saved me in the first place to keep me safe and in the faith, with Him.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25
Wow, God. I am not able, but I am Yours, because You are mighty, and mighty to save.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -Jesus, John 10:28-30
It’s time to entrust myself to the One who actually has the power to save and to keep, to protect and give life.
So, we have gone over several different situations, circumstances, and difficulties surrounding our anxiety-filled desire for control, and we have learned that when it comes down to it, we really don’t have control. We can be responsible and courageous to change the things we can, as the Serenity Prayer states, but if fear or worry enters into our acts of responsibility, than we have gone too far. We really need to trust in God to give the increase, the provision, and the right decision. We need to entrust ourselves, our loved ones, and everyone else we know to Him, for He has the power to grow, change, and save. And in the things that hurt, we need to entrust our lives to Him, knowing that His plan is best, because He really is good. He’s just so much wiser than us that we don’t always understand why things happen. But if you can understand that He is good, and that He loves you and proved it by going to the cross for you, by giving up His life to give you eternal life forever with Him, than I think it’s okay to not know and just rest there.
Be okay with not being in control. Be more than okay with it. Be freed by it. Rest in it.
And trust in the One who always has perfect control over everything, even you. Even them. Whoever they may be. Even it. Whatever it may be.
Let’s end with a Psalm of trusting in God:
1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.” – Psalm 62
Let’s discuss! Use the comments section here or on my Facebook post to share and encourage one another.
What do you stress the most over controlling?
What makes it hard to let go?
What did God speak to you through this Psalm? Skim back through it and share what verse was most encouraging to you.
What was helpful to you through this post?
What are you ready to trust God with?
I pray that God might use this post to bless someone else today, as He has used it to bless me. Thanks in advance if you decide to join the discussion. I hope you will! Love ya’ll!
Living this life alongside you,
**Note: to interpret the last verse of Psalm 62 in light of the Gospel, in case you were wondering about that, here’s a passage from John 6:28-29:
Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”
Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”