Our desire for control
How often do you find yourself worrying about something that is completely outside of your control? Do you find yourself trying to control or manipulate situations that are outside of your scope of influence? Why do we do this? Do we think we can actually change some of these situations, or do we simply want to feel like we have more influence and power than we actually have? As Christians, we tend to easily point out the things that we do wrong in this life, but what is the Biblical way to respond in these situations that are outside of our control? Please understand me clearly here, the temptation is either to do too much or to do nothing at all, but my hope is to present a third option that relies on God’s sovereign control while also understanding our personal responsibility in this world.
First, we are called to trust that God is in control of the world He created. With that said, we may not always understand God’s plan or purposes, but we are still called to trust God regardless of the current circumstances. If we are honest, sometimes we functionally try to replace God with our own attempts at control. We basically push God off of the throne in our hearts and tell Him that we like our ways better than His. I think the root of many of our anxieties and control issues center around a lack of trust in God’s plan. We may trust God in certain categories of life, but we tend to question God’s plan and purposes in situations that are not appealing or pleasing to us. Theologically, Christians tend to talk a lot about God’s sovereign control, but in practice, we seldom like to submit to His ways.
Our attempt to manipulate or control situations in our life is really not much different than the original sin in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve were told that all of the garden was for them to enjoy other than one tree, and when they chose to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they ultimately said that they would rather live their own way rather than God’s way. When we try to maintain control of situations that should only be under God’s control, we are participating in the same sin that Adam and Eve participated in. We are telling God that we would rather live our own way rather than His way. So our first challenge is to relinquish control and to trust that God is working in the midst of the really difficult circumstances in our lives.
Second, we are called to do what we can. Sometimes we use God’s sovereignty as an excuse to not take responsibility for the care of the world God has placed us in. God has placed us in strategic places all around the world to work for Him. We should do whatever we can to make changes in the world for Christ and His ways. The problem is we often allow our worrying and desire for control to go far beyond the scope of influence that God has given us. Within our scope of influence, we should regularly seek to use our influence to make Christ and His ways known around the world. Then anything that is clearly beyond our control, we leave in the sovereign hands of God, but we must also remind our hearts that even the things within our control are ultimately also under God’s sovereign care.
“Who is there that speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.” -Lamentations 3:37-40
Nick, Amanda, Julia, and Elizabeth Gagnon