by Melinda McCredie
Recently I have found myself in a number of situations that have served to remind me how little control I actually have over my life. Not least of which is the fact that I now have two teenaged ‘P’ platers on the road. What a ride that is!
But there are also family situations, work situations, friend situations and health situations happening in my life that I can’t control. This lack of control is nothing new, in fact it’s always been the case. But in the last couple of months, the question for me has become how can I stop the things I can’t control from making me miserable?
Even as I write this, I know that control is an illusion. I often hear people say that you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. This is a very true statement, yet it provides me little comfort. Lately my responses have been more emotional than rational, and in the moment I seem to lose my ability to act appropriately.
The thing is, some of the things going on in my life justify my feelings. Even if I could control my response better, is it really so bad to be upset about situations that are tough? Or scary? Or make me anxious? That seems like a perfectly natural and acceptable response to me.
And yet, as I sit in my misery and feel a bit sorry for myself, I know that isn’t the way either. There must be some in-between where my emotions can be acknowledged but don’t dictate everything I do.
I sometimes wonder if that’s where God is. In the in-between.
As Christians, a lot of our control issues boil down to one important question. Do we trust God? For me, and for many of us, trusting God is a double-edged sword. While we may have seen many instances of His faithfulness in our lives, my bet is we’ve also seen plenty of pain that we just can’t make sense of.
Yet in my lowest, most anxious moments when I plead with God to help me, the thing I most often hear whispered to my spirit is ‘do you trust Me?’ How I wish there was a simple answer to that question. I want to say a resounding ‘yes God, I trust you!’ but sometimes it’s more like a strangled whisper.
Would I still trust God if I lost my marriage? If I lost my job? If I lost a loved one? I have friends who have suffered all these things, and trust does not come naturally in situations like these. God’s question is do you trust me, but our question is why? Why did this happen to me? To my marriage? To my family?
In my questioning, the only reasonable conclusion I can come to is that I must only see a tiny snippet of the picture that is my life. Otherwise some of these things that happen would make sense. I know God loves me, but how do I reconcile that with what I see?
Again, I find myself stuck in the in-between.
But I do believe God is trustworthy, and I have to make peace with not always understanding what He’s doing to trust Him. There is some comfort in that for me, because another thing I believe is that He sees things I don’t see, and He knows things I don’t know. Control deceives me into believing that everything is all about me, but God reminds me that it’s not.
This battle to trust is probably ongoing for most of us if we’re honest. When we complain that God isn’t answering our prayers, it’s usually because He’s not doing what we want Him to do. And it’s in those moments that we have to keep reminding ourselves what we know is true about God. He loves us. He is there in the unseen. What’s happening is part of a bigger plan.
Trusting God is possible. But it’s all in the way we choose to see it.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Melinda is a writer who shares her life experiences with God on her blog, www.thedevotedlife.com She also has a self-published book. Melinda attends Gateway Baptist Church with her husband Drewe and two daughters.
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