I have always had a tendency to want to control everything. If things are not done the way I like them, they are most likely wrong (at least in my mind).
When I was still single, I had my life completely planned out. I would marry before I was 25, be a successful judge, have 4 children and a big house with a huge pool. What I didn’t know was that God had a completely different plan for me and when I began to discover it I felt like I was walking on quicksand. I was not clear about what lay ahead. Everything was new. I left my country, I left my family, my job, my friends, my dreams, and I arrived at a completely unknown place. I knew that God was with me, but I could not put my trust in him, let alone rest on his promises, because everything was out of control. I had lost control and I think that was the most difficult thing in this whole transition.
A couple of weeks ago we began to study the story of Joseph in the Sunday sermons at my church. Joseph is not an unfamiliar character to me. I have heard about his life since I was a child. I was so familiar with his story, that everything he lived through had stopped surprising me until now.
As I listened to the pastor recount how Joseph had suffered and that even if he acted well things didn’t turn out the way he wanted, I understood that we are not really in control of anything. All these years I have dealt with the anxiety and uncertainty about the future. I have stopped enjoying beautiful moments because I worry about what is not yet happening. And this has become even more pronounced in recent months because of the pandemic that is affecting us. It is a vicious circle that feeds on the worry and the desire to have everything under control. The more I worry about a difficult situation, the more anguish takes hold of me and my mind begins to wander and search for answers.
I have to confess that it has not been easy. My nature leads me to despair in the face of the unknown, but it is in those moments that the Scriptures come alive and bring me back to God. I have had to bring my thoughts captive to the Lord and learn to depend on him. It has also been a time when I have had to hold on to God and learn to rest in Him, to let go of control or rather to understand that I never had it.
The Holy Spirit has brought to my mind passages of the Bible that have sustained me and brought peace to my soul. One of these is Psalm 121 where the author is evidently troubled, yet he himself declares that there is no one else to whom we can turn but the Lord.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord.” Further on he states: “The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your soul.”
In the most uncertain periods of my life, when nothing seems to be clear, at least for me, God reminds me that it does not depend on what I do or do not do. That I am not in control of anything, that it is He who sustains me.
In the book of Jeremiah we find this promise: “‘Because I know very well the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
When I think of the plans I had and see what God has done in my life, I cannot deny that his way is better anyway. It has not been easy. Nor was it for Joseph. He was taken away from his family, sold into slavery, imprisoned on unjust charges, but even then the Lord was with him.
That same God who was with Joseph and who has been with me, is at your side, with you, in the midst of your circumstances.
Giving up control of your life to God is the smartest decision you can make. There is no one who has a better plan for you than the Lord. That does not mean that there will not be difficult moments (remember Joseph), what I can assure you is that even in the midst of difficulties God is with you. You are not alone.
Rest in God and in the power of his strength.