Sunday, March 11, 2007
We have no control- and we're not SUPPOSED to!
My title probably took you off guard and it was supposed to. Over the years, I have had some real up close and personal experience with control. And the longer I live the more I realize that control is just a mirage- you look and are sure you have it, and when you get closer to it, you realize that it isn't there. Now, I am not talking about control over our tongue or our actions- the Bible clearly states that we are to exhibit control over how we speak and our reactions to various things. I am talking about how we use our sense of control to believe that in some small way, we can contol the big things in our life. I heard a friend say the other day to me, " It's been an insane week, but I finally have everything under control." I couldn't help laughing out loud and saying, "That's a joke!" She gave me the oddest look and I had to explain. "M, I said, control of our life is absolutely never attainable. Yes, we may think that we have our little universe "in order", but then God allows, FOR OUR GOOD something to come along and knock our feet right out from under us, to show us that we have NO CONTROL." She still looked at me like I had four heads. Let me explain. I have, over the years, and through no or little fault of my own, been faced with very difficult physical and emotional situations. All of us can say that to some degree- as humans we all endure emotional and physical burdens that we did not CAUSE. I have had chronic fatigue, depression, a work situation that was almost unbearable, and homeschooled until doctors told me I needed back surgery and put me on medicine that made staying awake difficult. In all those situations, I would have told you at the beginning that I had things "under control"- and I did to a tiny degree. I worked hard at my job, loved my students, loved homeschooling, and was enthusiastic about it. But "having things under control" is a pride issue. And God wants us to know that we have no right to be prideful about things that HE is in control of. So, one day, I couldn't get out of bed and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was in the bed for 1 and 1/2 years. What could I be proud of then? My ability to put my husband through pharmacy school? No, because it was God's provision in our investments that allowed him to finish school, not my job. When I homeschooled, I was proud of our efforts and made no secret that I thought we were doing well. Back and hip pain soon led to a diagnosis that could have meant back surgery. Instead I had to go to physical therapy three times a week to avoid surgery and put on muscle relaxants that made me unable to teach. So, we prayed and put our kids in public school, and once again God taught me that I had NO CONTROL. Yes, I could control what I taught my kids, and could be in control of praying for them while they were at school, but ultimately, it was up to Him. I could go on and list my individual situtations for you, but I think you get the idea. We are called to be responsible and prayerful, to teach our kids everything we know about Him, and to make sure that we have done those things we know we should. But cancer and death and an adult child who chooses the wrong path are not things we have CONTROL over, and the sooner we learn that, the sooner we can recognize who DOES have control over those things. I think that when we really learn that lesson, we become much more apt to pray and hang on to God's word, because we realize that we need HIS control, not ours. And I thank God that He is the one in control, because I have learned such valuable lessons through all the "out of control" situations in my life- lessons I would have never learned if my carefully mapped out life had gone along as I thought it should. Romans 8:28 says, " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And while I wait for this foot to heal much more slowly than I wanted it to, I keep reminding myself of that. And I know that I am learning another lesson while I wait.