Where do you think you will be in five years?
I cannot, for the life of me, answer that question. People ask me what I want to do next year, and I think I know, but I’m not totally positive, and I’m rushing around to find the right answers.
Do you understand that feeling?
Let’s talk about it because it’s so scary to look the future, the “I don’t know”, in the face with confidence.
I’ll start this conversation by saying this – I’m a planner. And I cannot stress that enough – I’m a planner big time. I mean, I picked out my wedding dress when I was 14 (I’ve toned back since this, but for emphasizing my planning tendencies…), and I already know how I would like to dress my children, whenever the time may come that I will have my own children. I have always wanted to be able to tell people, in exact detail, not just how I would like my life to go, but 100% without a doubt how it will go.
Can you relate?
I know there are a lot of people who can’t, and that’s not a problem, but I think we can relate on this level – trusting God is difficult when we would rather be in control. Everyone has dreams, whether you are a planner or not, and hopes and aspirations. What if God called you to do something that would completely change the trajectory of you being able to fulfill what you think is the best route for your life? What if you’re supposed to…? What if you’re not supposed to…?
What do you do when God says, “No”? When He says, “Wait”? When He seems silent on the matter? What do you do then? How do you wait? How do you even hear Him in the first place?
Do these questions look familiar to you? They are all to commonplace for my heart to ask.
I’m constantly confronted by the fact that I don’t know. And I think there’s something so powerful in the way God moves in my uncertainty. Because me knowing has no bearing on God working, and that’s something I forget all too often.
But God works in my questions and confusions and uncertainties because He is completely, 100% faithful all the time. There is no shadow in His presence, and there is no fear in His love. There is no absence of goodness in all that He is, and there is no doubt in my mind that He will always fulfill His promises – always, always, always.
I have another question for you to consider – when have you ever regretted giving control to God?
Because, here’s what I’ve noticed, every time I try to be in charge, something breaks, burns, or is buried because when I get to the point of realizing my inability to control effectively, my unwillingness to recognize my insufficient ability to be in charge causes chaos. My control cracks, crumbles, and dissolves when I resolve to take my pain into hands that were never made to bear it.
“I’ve had plans, shattered and broken, things I have hoped in fall through my hands. You have plans to redeem and restore me. You’re behind and before me. Oh help me believe. God you don’t need me, but somehow you want me. Oh how you love me. Somehow that frees me to open my hands up and give you control.” (Tenth Avenue North, “Control”)
You have plans to redeem and restore me – why should our plans usurp the God of the universe? Why would you put any hope in yourself? I’ve met me, and I cannot trust myself with my dreams – give them to God, and maybe He’ll say, yeah, let’s fulfill this. Or maybe He will hand you something so much better than your dream. Whatever He gives, I know I want to be ready to receive. I don’t want to delay blessing because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to surrender.
But He will never force His control over my life, I have a choice to let Him be over it all or try to make everything run perfectly myself.
We struggle because we don’t want to give God control since He will allow us to walk through refining fire so the best can come, the most abundance, the greatest fulfillment of our potentials. But it will most certainly be painful at first. And I think C.S. Lewis speaks for all of us when he writes, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” It’s hard, my friends, to submit to a will that we don’t understand. But when that will, that way, is so much greater than our own, I think it’s an option we would be foolish to disregard. Because, yes, pain will come if we walk in the Lord’s plan but so will abundance, peace, freedom, fruitfulness, joy, and the list goes on. But when we resign to reside in our own control, there’s only pain and no hope for fulfillment or satisfaction – just constant shortcomings and even greater fear.
And here’s the thing, if I think my plans are so much better than those of God, and I refuse surrender, I’m making a statement, and I have a huge pride problem. My hands didn’t sculpt the planets that dance in perfect unison. They didn’t paint the night sky or twirl each blade of grass into being. These hands didn’t draw the borders of land or shores of the sea. They didn’t sketch the cornerstone of the universe or create the expanse of the galaxies. And His did, but I still think my plans are better? It’s funny to put control into perspective in that context because there’s something so much greater that I am forgetting and that is simply how unfathomably good He is at being in control. And more than that, just how good He is period.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
How great is our God! That from millenniums past His name was proclaimed as great and faithful, and we get to declare His glory as His children! We get to continue praise that has not stopped for generations, upon generations, upon generations. Praise that has not ceased through uncertainties, changing civilizations, and persecution. For His great love has conquered all – I think we can trust that control over our lives.