It’s amazing how easy it is to think that we are in control of things. We are brought up to believe that if we study enough, are nice enough, help out others and pay our dues, then we are guaranteed a successful life with financial freedom and a good life. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
Many of us grow up and look back on our earlier lives with regret – wishing that we could go back and do things differently. In fact, there are many things that I wish I could go back and try again. I wish I had kept up with music lessons when I was in high school. And I wish that I had gone on to graduate school right after college. Come to think of it, I wish that I had been able to go to medical school and become the surgeon that I always thought I would be.
But that apparently wasn’t the plan. Oh, and by the way, I wish that I had a stronger faith earlier in my life and that I wouldn’t have had to wait until a was almost middle aged before my faith grew much stronger than it was before. Once again, apparently, it wasn’t the plan.
Janet pointed out to me years ago that none of us can live with regret and we all know that we can’t change the past. So, if we believe in God, we must adopt the attitude that our own timing was not right or we weren’t in alignment with the will of God for our lives. In fact, the things that happened were supposed to happen and in God’s perfect timing, His plan will be put into effect in each of our lives.
In my own case, I wouldn’t have learned as much in seminary as I did if I had gone to graduate school back in my twenties. And if I had become a surgeon, I ‘m not so sure that it would have been the correct calling for my life. So the older I get, the more I realize that the way things turned out is, in fact, the best way for me. I loved my seminary experience and the consulting work that I do is incredibly fulfilling – the most fulfilling work I have ever done. And while I wish that I had discovered that joy years ago, it just wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.
I have also noticed that I am not the only one who has tried to control outcomes in my life. So I have tried to adopt a more public personna of living “palms up.” In other words, I try to put God first and ask what His will for my life is. And I try to live out that behavior with others that I come into contact with.
By the way, this isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. I want control of the situation as much as the next guy and it bothers me that I realize I am not the one calling the shots. The good news is that I have travelled this road long enough to know that it is a good thing. Sometimes, I get anxious watching others who refuse to live “palms up.” It takes courage to take the plunge and persevere on that pathway. Eventually, most folks realize it is the right move, but it may take a while to come to that realization.
The Bible is clear that we aren’t in control. Yes, God gave us free will, but there is a grand plan for each of us and some things we can’t change. Tonight’s verse is from the good doctor, Luke, and his Gospel as he records the words of Jesus. He tells us, in Luke 12:25-31, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
My encouragement this evening is that God knows that you want to control things. And while you may, from time to time, think you are running things, Jesus wants you to accept His plan for your life – which, by the way, is much better than your plan for your life. My prayer is that you will invite God to work His plan in and for you; and that you will be content and joyful at the outcome. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…