“Hi. My name is Crystal and I’m a ‘control freak.’ I haven’t attempted to ‘control my universe’ for at least the past 60 minutes.”
“Ben, watch out, that semi-truck is swerving into our lane!”
“Can’t you see that you are in that car’s blind spot!”
“Your driving makes me a nervous wreck!”
If you were a fly on the ceiling of our little, green Toyota Corolla on Sunday, those are just a few of the sweet and encouraging words you would have heard from the mouth of this wife, while we traveled down the highway headed to church.
As I thought about the things I was saying, I was once again reminded that it wasn’t really my husband’s driving that was making me so anxious, but something much deeper – something in my heart. A heart issue that I seem to struggle with all too often – the need to feel as though I’m in control. Thankfully, I have a patient Savior who is in the process of working in my stubborn heart to sanctify me, setting me apart to be more like Him. (Romans 8:29) Bear with me, for just a moment as I share a couple of things that help me when the control freak in me attempts to rear its nasty head in my life.
First of all, there’s more to the Gospel than we may think.
There is no greater message than that of the Gospel – Jesus, God’s perfect son, came to earth to live a sinless life for the purpose of dying as my substitute, paying for my nasty sins and those of the whole world! But we, as Christians, often buy into the lie that the Gospel is only good as that one-time get-out-of-hell-free ticket. Once we are saved, we can then tuck that ticket safely into our wallets, then unfold it when it’s time to present it at the pearly gates as our admission into heaven. But would you really ponder that with me for a moment? When my massive sin debt was completely and utterly out of control, and out of my control to pay, God, in His perfect control, stepped in. He sent His sinless son to be the ultimate sacrifice. He died in my place, to erase my debt. What part of salvation was my doing? None of it. It was even God Himself that drew me to Himself to even see my need for a Savior! (John 16:8) I was not in any way able to save myself, so what makes me think that there is anything in my life that is actually under my measly control?
Secondly, God is completely and utterly sovereign in all things.
Why is resting in God’s sovereignty so difficult? If I examine my heart, I might reluctantly find that it’s because I think that for some crazy reason, I’d make a better god. That’s really hard to say, but am I the only one who is honest enough to admit that? Me saying aloud, or even arrogantly thinking that since I have ordered and prepared things in my life to go as I plan, that they will indeed always work out perfectly, is completely ridiculous! The God of our very universe can at any point in time change the course of my life. It is by Him that “all things consist” or are held together. (Colossians 1:17) I am absolutely not saying that God is up in heaven, with an evil look on His face, sneakily rubbing his hands together, devising ways to throw my life for a loop. But I would be foolish to say that He’s not aware of and in complete control of everything, whether in allowing good or allowing bad things to happen in my life. I cannot, for one second, allow myself to believe that my planning and organizational skills will somehow cause me to be in control of the outcome of every situation. God is sovereign. My being in the driver’s seat on Sunday, seemingly being in control, would not have, at all, guaranteed that it’s not in the Lord’s sovereign will for us to be in a car accident. He’s the one in control, I am not. He’s the one with the perfect plan, I am not. So who am I to seek to control my life the way I see fit?
Jesus is the only one who is powerful enough to remove from my heart the hunger for control. Every fear, worry and anxiety is my attempt to control my universe. It’s my prayer that, if you also struggle with the desire to “control your universe”, that you would allow Him to change your heart and cause you to remember the gospel – that it was out of your control to save yourself – it was completely Jesus, and that He’s sovereign over everything.