Thursday, August 11, 2011

Help! I've lost control!

The drought. Riots in London. The Warren Jeff’s trial. The Economy. The gridlock in Washington. I don’t know about you, but I’ve about given up on watching the news. It’s too depressing. The world seems like it’s coming off its hinges. Sometimes I prefer to live uninformed, so that I can keep up the façade that everything is ok in this life.

But even if I build a wall around my house and cancel my cable and internet connections, I can’t totally escape bad things from happening. Illness, conflict, and troubles of all sorts wreak their havoc in the most personal ways as often as they make global headlines. As much as I’d like to control everything in this life, I can’t.

I’m reminded of a word from Barbara Brown Taylor: "’I've lost control!’ That is what good people say when bad things happen to them. ‘I've lost control of my life!’ I have said it myself, but it is not true. Human beings do not lose control of their lives. What we lose is the illusion that we were ever in control of our lives in the first place, and it is a hard, hard lesson to learn.”

Is it ever. I, along with lots of other people, buy in to the myth that if I just do things correctly, my life will be orderly and safe. I also buy into the collective version of that myth, if we just do things correctly, if we legislate correctly, if we defend ourselves correctly, if we worship correctly, life will be orderly and safe. We will manage to keep things under control.

But we’re not in control. I’m not in control. None of us ever were. God is, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. Part of the problem, I think is this. If I was in control, we’d all be safe and secure. But God’s concern doesn't seem to be that we are safe, but that we are being saved. There is a difference.

Being safe involves my present circumstances. Being saved involves the state of my soul. Being safe means keeping evil at bay. Being saved means overcoming evil with good. Being safe necessitates looking out for me and mine. Being saved calls on us to trust the only One who cares for all. Being safe means trying to control my life. Being saved means giving my life over to the One who will one day, maybe not today, but one day, make all things new.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” – Romans 8:18.

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