For those of you who know me, I like to have a plan. I want to know what is happening when it is happening, and all of the ins and outs. When I have some semblance of a plan, I can prepare for what is to come both mentally and emotionally. Thank goodness I have no life goal of being an improv comedian, as planned-improv is one oxymoron that I don’t think the world is ready for.
So, when God says in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” I struggle with this statement. God knows the plan… and I don’t? Not much of a winning combination in my books. Now, that’s not to say that this verse hasn’t brought peace with it, but for someone who likes to plan, I really want to say to God, “Care to let me in on what that plan is?”
I was chatting with someone the other day who is struggling with quite a few tricky situations right now. A friend encouraged him to seek the Holy Spirit and what God was saying to him. While I agreed and encouraged Him to press into the Holy Spirit, I also said, “Don’t you wish God would just hit you over the head with a bat and get His point across?” Sometimes it feels like God is speaking, but we either can’t hear it, don’t want to listen to it, or are unsure of if we are making the whole thing up. Hence why the bat would be a good option…
This got me thinking about control, and even more so, about God’s strength. Why do we like to be in control? Because we can better navigate the situation. How do we ensure that we can do this? Because we can size it up, figure out how much strength we need to handle what is in front of us, and prepare ourselves for what is to come. But what if we knew that God’s strength was constant and that He is in control, so we don’t have to be?
David didn’t have the physical strength to kill Goliath with just a slingshot and a rock, but God strengthened Him. Esther didn’t have the emotional strength to come before the king knowing that she could be killed, but God imparted His strength so that she could boldly step forward. The sick and diseased, the lowliest of people in Jesus’s time, didn’t have the strength to stand in front of the masses and expose themselves to additional ridicule, but they stood in front of Jesus and asked for a miracle.
How many times have you faced a situation where you needed to muster up all of your strength to just get through it? For some of us, this is a daily occurrence, and for others, it is not something we even think about. But have we considered where this strength comes from? God, the one who is in control, gives us the strength that we need to face whatever life throws at us, head on. When we muster up our strength, we are dipping into the reserves of the strength of God; His endless and wonderful supply.
I believe that control and strength go hand-in-hand. When we believe that God gives us the strength we need to face every single day and all that it holds, we don’t have to be in complete control. If anything, when we believe that God is in our corner, giving us what we need to succeed, we can give Him everything that we have been carrying and say, “Hey God. I can’t handle this. I don’t know how to handle this. Please give me your strength and I will give you complete control.” Isn’t that a much better prayer to have than, “Okay God. Here’s my plan… now, how do you fit into all of it?”
Trust me; if there was a course on how to relinquish control, I would be the first one to sign up. Giving up control of our lives and the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, is hard! It’s scary, it’s nerve-racking, yet it’s one of the most important things that we need to do. When we give God control, we permit God to move in significant ways.
Who wants to see God move in their lives? I know I do.