And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 ESV
When my son was around 3 years old, my wife was getting ready to leave to run some errands. As she was getting ready to go to the car, my son said, “I don’t want Mommy to drive.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because I love her.” This comment gave me some ammo to playfully ask my wife why our son was worried about her driving (to be fair, she is a very safe driver…).
While amusing at the time, I’m not sure what my son meant at his young age asking who was driving, and since then, neither of my kids have ever worried about who was driving. They may ask which car they are going in, but they are never worried about either one of us driving because they trust us fully. It honestly shouldn’t be something they should worry about.
Many years ago, I took a giant charter bus with a group of people to a mountain to go skiing. It was early morning, and we were driving on this narrow path with a steep ledge on the side of the road. The bus was going fast, winding through the mountain, and it was snowing. My nerves kicked in, and I had to remind myself that the driver was a professional (I hoped), had done this many times (I assumed), and would get me safely there (which he did). Once I gave over control to the driver, I was actually able to sleep the rest of the way and wake up safely at the ski resort.
My fear and need for control is the same reason I have a problem with flying; I don’t fully trust the pilots or the process and imagine we are doomed to go down in a fiery ball of death. In reality, flying is one of the safest modes of transportation (they say), and pilots are extremely reliable and have a lot of experience. Only once I breathe, relax, and focus on other things can I get through the experience with some of my sanity still intact.
It’s easy to want to control every aspect of our lives; after all, God has given us control of certain parts and allows us to be good stewards with what we have. We have to be faithful to raise our families with structure and love. We have a responsibility to our career to be diligent as we work “unto the Lord.” And with finances, we have to be wise with how we use our money, giving charitably and not spending frivolously.
If God is ultimately in control of your life and IF you have given it over to Him, He should be the one steering your life in the direction that He has planned out for you. We should simply be along for the ride, acting in obedience along the way, and fully trusting in the direction we are going even though we can’t see the destination.
Nothing is worse while you are driving than being subjected to a backseat driver (that is sometimes at the front seat in the form of your spouse). When someone tries to interject comments to try and “help,” it usually ends up being a distraction unless that help is specifically solicited.
When we try and take the wheel, so to speak, from God and give Him advice on where we should go, it is no different than my children telling me how to get somewhere. It is not helpful.
Our need for control tries to take away attributes of God through our assumption that we know better. Instead of trusting in God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, we subjugate Him to our servant, a genie who we command to give us what we want.
We, however, are not all-knowing. Just like my kids do not see the upcoming construction in the road or the alert I got on my phone for traffic that caused me to take a detour, God may be taking us down a different path than what is “normal” or “comfortable.” It might be a path that leads us into safety and not comfort. It might be a path that enables our growth and not stagnation. It might just be a path that brings life and not death.
God has been down every road before; nothing is surprising to Him. We may be unsure of where to go, but we can trust our Guide.
Our need for control can and does get in the way of the purposes and plans of God for our lives. He does not force His will on us, sometimes He has to shake us, but He would much prefer to find a willing vessel that doesn’t fight Him every step of the way.
The Bible says-
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21
We want our plans to be glamorous, to bring us glory, to bring wealth, peace, health, and safety. However, Jesus said the “last will be first.” Many times the path He has for us is a road less traveled, a narrow path that forges us into the holy disciple that He can then trust with for more. And sometimes, THAT path, to quote Robert Frost, makes ALL the difference.
Discerning Reflection: Have I given God control of my life while still being a good steward with the responsibilities I have? Can I trust in the path God is leading me even though I can’t see the destination?
Prayer: Lord, help me trust in you despite my need for control. Help me be ok with not knowing every detail but trust that you know the future and that I can trust you with mine.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Discerning Dad