And neither can you. You don’t have ultimate control over your health, your safety, or your family. You can’t choose to not get cancer or not struggle with infertility or not face unemployment. You aren’t in charge of your life.
Yes, we have responsibilities – to love, to serve, to work, to pray, to vote, to do our best to alleviate as much of the pain and suffering in this world as we can. But we don’t have control.
But we have something much, much better. We have a God who is not only in control (and he is – see the end of the Joseph story in genesis 50, where Joseph reminds his brothers that what they had intended for evil, God had intended for good), but is also with us, working redemption right here in the middle of the messiness of our fallen world with all its frustration, disappointment, suffering, heartache and sadness.
This gives me rest. This calms my anxious heart into peaceful repose. This assures me that all is not random and that I am not alone. God reigns. And he is here, right now, tonight as I’m writing this with the particular burdens I now feel and that threaten to undo me.
Here’s a promise to cling to:
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you…he who formed you… ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….Fear not, for I am with you’” (isaiah 43).
“I ...the Lord your God... am with you.”
That’s better than having my acorn stored for winter.
Brian G. Hedges is the lead pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan. Brian has been married to Holly since 1996 and they have four children. He is the author of christ formed in you: the power of the gospel for personal change (Shepherd Press, 2010). And licensed to kill: a field manual for mortifying sin (Cruciform Press, 2011).