Brutal Honesty... Introduction
Brutal Honesty...Part I
BRUTAL HONESTY - I desire control. And the reason I desire control is because I do not trust God with the present nor for the future.
On a very practical level, the emotional reactions are anxiety and worry - the "typical" stress over anything unexpected. I tend to worry if plans fall through, if everything I have precisely laid out on my calendar gets jumbled up due to the unexpected, and my stress level skyrockets when I'm faced with not knowing what's next on the short or long-term agenda. This fear of the unknown manifests itself in panic, pouring all of my energy into planning as much as possible down to the most minute detail, and then being completely reactionary when things don't follow my expectations. I have this constant desire, dare I say need, to have all events planned for and feel like I must have a handle on things. The more I have a firm grip on things, the more I can dictate the outcome and not be thrown off guard by anything unanticipated.
So what is this desire, this need to be in control of the events in my life, whether big or small? Is it merely just me being organized and wanting to keep things in order, or is there something deeper triggering these continual patterns of anxiety and worry? Feeling anxiety over the unexpected is natural and normal...right?
“Woe to him who strives with Him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to Him who forms it, ‘What are You making?’or ‘Your work has no handles’?" (Isaiah 45:9)
The truth of the matter is...I don't trust the One who provides and sustains. I want to be the one in control rather than being molded by the Potter. I don't trust that He knows the future, the plans and all of the outcomes.
BEAUTIFUL REALITY -
"I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all My heart and all My soul." (Jeremiah 32:40-41)
"And he said to his disciples, 'Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.'" (Luke 12:22-32)
Beautiful seems like an understatement... God, the Creator of the universe and every intricate detail therein, pursues me in Christ. In this glorious pursuit, He works all things according to His will and my good. I should trust Him, the One who works according to His perfect plan, because He knows me better than I know myself, He has rescued me from the darkness in Christ, has called me His own, and even when I fail to trust Him, Scripture says that He rejoices in doing me good. The God of the universe rejoices in doing me good...in doing you good if you share in His glorious inheritance.
His grace is cheapened when I insist that my control is necessary.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay,
and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
God is replaced on the throne in my heart when I demand to have a hand in all events and potential outcomes.
"Make me to know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;
for You I wait all the day long." (Psalm 25:4-5)
Ponder the freedom and rest that comes from knowing His provision and sovereignty! Trusting Him does not mean we negate being responsible and wise in our planning and decision-making; I don't resort to being a sloth because I'm claiming that He is the One in control. On the contrary,
"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. . . .
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:3, 9)
I have had to examine my own heart countless times during this quiet, post-seminary season of life. Am I really trusting in Him for the vast unknown that lies ahead, or am I secretly (or vocally) insisting that I should have a handle on all of the plans in case this or that just doesn't work out? Oh, sinner that I am... There are days when I have been hit hard with the reality of this ever-present idol of control. I have tasted the sweetness and freedom of trusting Him with each detail of my life, and yet there are still days when I live as "an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea" (Lewis). The amount of control I demand over my own life speaks volumes about whether or not I am dwelling in the joy and satisfaction which comes from knowing Christ and trusting Him. I trust and I believe, and I want to trust and believe every day I am given breath, that He is worthy of glory and He is the One who knows and determines what is best for my life.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom..."