Have you ever known someone who simply will not be satisfied in this world unless and until they get their way? They strive to maintain control at all costs and resort to any number of manipulation techniques to retain or force that control. And you know, they aren’t very pleasant to be around (at least when they are not getting their way.)
But once again, if we step back and take a good look at our own lives, we can not deny that it’s in our nature to want to control. We know what we like and what we want (or at least what we think we want) and we enjoy having power and influence over others and over our circumstances. In general, we’re controlling people.
It sounds so bad, doesn’t it? It’s not a sin we tend to freely admit to. Now, maybe we don’t all go to the same extremes to maintain or to force that control, but the desire is there. Our human nature resists giving it up.
And if you aren’t sure if you like to be in control, just check yourself by reflecting on how you respond to others and to God when things don’t go according to your plans and desires.
When God allows “negative” things to happen regarding things we feel strongly about, what is our response? What about when we lose someone or something that we love? When that child rebels or doesn’t listen to our advice? When God doesn’t answer our prayers for some really good things?
I had several situations come up this month that God graciously used to show me this sin in my own heart. Each time, it was regarding someone else making a choice that went against my will. Whether these decisions were right or wrong doesn’t really matter because here’s the truth… God is sovereign over them. If he saw fit to change something, He could and He would. He is not held back by anyone or anything.
So, then I got to thinking… What I really am upset about is the fact that I do not have power or influence over these people’s hearts and therefore over the circumstances that affect my life. And by golly that is frustrating when you are convinced that they are wrong and you are right!
But there are so many times throughout scripture that God speaks of the horrible traits or decisions of mankind and then goes on to say, “but God…”
We were all dead in our sins…
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… Ephesians 2:4-5
After the destruction of the flood…
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided. Genesis 8:1
After Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers…
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20
When Saul was seeking to destroy David’s life…
And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. 1 Samuel 23:14b
Nothing trumps God. Not anyone or anything. And that’s a very good thing.
When we remember Who our God is and how He lives outside of time, with full perspective of eternity, overflowing with unlimited grace and goodness, maintaining His sovereignty at all times in every way, do we really want to put ourselves on the throne and take control? Are we really that delusional to think that we know better than Him? No, I don’t think we really want all that control. That’s a bit much responsibility for a finite creature, not to mention it would be completely disastrous.
In my younger days I once told my dad that he wouldn’t make a very good god. Then I grew up and realized I wouldn’t either. 😉 Besides, “if we could have half of our wishes, we would double our trouble.” (Thank you Benjamin Franklin for pointing that out.)
So, friends, this week let’s look into our own hearts and confess those desires to control the situations and the people around us, and let’s choose to focus on Who our God is and willingly relinquish that control over to Him. He has the control regardless, but how much wiser it would be for us to give up the fight and rest in His arms, knowing that every hard and terrible thing in this world that comes into our lives is filtered through His sovereign, loving hands. And that, my friends, is a very good thing.