Hi everyone. Rob here.
Kiley and I were talking today about our respective journeys in learning to trust that God is in charge. It got me thinking about the fine lines of Christian language. When we say that God is in charge and I’m not, some may hear that as an abdication of responsibility. It sounds fatalistic, like giving up. What it really means is this: I’m going to let God be God and I am going to stop trying to do his job. Instead I’ll do mine, which is to partner with God in being shaped into a truer and more beautiful humanity. I am human and God is God and when we make God human and make us God we mess everything up.
How do we try and do God’s job for him? In ways that are both obvious and subtle. The most obvious is when we charge into life trying to control everyone and everything around us. There is no prayer, no ‘giving ourselves over to God.’ The underlying belief is, “it’s all up to me.” Another way is a bit more subtle and it stems from that everyday condition known as worry. We worry that things aren’t going to work out well for us and so we intervene. We try and persuade people to our point of view, we send endless reminders, we make detailed lists, we manipulate in little ways, we put on our ‘in control’ voice or our bossy voice and so on. the underlying condition is fear that ‘things will not work out well for me.’
I’ve recently finished a book about a man imprisoned for his faith in a foreign country. Freedom began for him when he realised that God had him in prison for a reason. He witnessed to terrorists, refugees, political prisoners and more about God’s love through Jesus Christ. He finished his time in prison knowing that despite horrific conditions, beatings, corruption and injustice he had participated in the will of God. He stopped fighting, began cooperating, found peace and God’s love sustained and strengthened him. I pray we don’t learn our lesson in the same dramatic way but learn it we must. We embrace our humanity by cooperating with God, not by controlling God.
I have prayed prayers where I’ve told God what his will is. I have worried and fretted and stressed about many situations. I have withdrawn when I needed to step and step in. I have stepped in when I needed to step away. We’ve all been there and done that because that’s the condition we inherited from our first ancestors. But now we’re invited to inherit from Jesus, the new Adam. We are to inherit his life in the Spirit, trust in the Father, faith in the path laid out for him and peace in the face of adversity. We are to inherit his life of prayer, his joy, his compassion and his power. That last one freaks us out a bit, but it’s simply the power to do what God asks of us in any given situation. It’s the power to not give the world, the flesh or the devil victory in that moment, but instead, to trust God and give our lives to him.
The invitation is trust in the goodness, grace and sovereignty of God. He is loving and he is brilliant. His will is perfect and it’s also creative, joyful and a little bit scary! He invites us to risk everything and trust him. When we do we find that his arms are the safest place to be.
Grace and peace everyone.