We live in an age where every individual has the ability to have a significantly large public life. The word is small; celebrities are no longer untouchables, and nothing is private. However, as public as our lives may be, we have certain control over what our public lives look like, and they do not always match with reality.
Many people portray their lives to be as great as possible. They will purposely shout their successes while neglecting any reality of failure, hurt, or strife. Just because we are able to edit it out of our public lives, doesn’t eliminate suffering’s existence. As great as my life may seem online…
…I do not have it all together.
One thing that I have always struggled with was the illusion of control in my life. I, for so long, would become so distraught at the collapse of things I thought I was holding together. Maybe you can relate?
This is when theology becomes practical.
I am not in control. Let me say it again, because I still struggle with it at times. I am not in control.
This will either cause two reactions, which I have experienced both at times. At the realization of this, one may either panic at the thought of truly not having control, or at some pace, a person will learn to rest in this truth. Though I have had times in the former, I am gradually entering the latter reaction.
This realization does not mean that I somehow have come to terms with all my sufferings to the point where I am no longer distressed. That will never be the case. However, I have found strength in the truth that God has complete control of all circumstances. That God has proclaimed history before it happened. This means, however, that my story is not the climax. I have to realize that I am not the main character in this story. God’s plan may call for my suffering.
“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).
God clearly has control, with the ability to work things together for a common purpose. However, we mistakenly add an extra word into that verse when we read and apply it to our lives. Don’t believe me? Watch: I bet most of us (myself included) have applied this verse in the following way. We read: “all things work together for my good”. Have you? I certainly have.
However, the truth is, ultimate good may include a negative situation that you have to endure. You may not see peace in a circumstance. If this is so, what will you do? Will you endure and trust in your creator?
Anxiety will thrive in an environment that is fully depending on change. That is to say, that if you are placing all of your chips on a guaranteed improved situation, you will most like endure strong anxiety.
Take the loss of a loved one. How much hurt is there when we don’t believe the one is truly gone? Rather than accepting, we blame. Rather than building up memories, we focus on the future events that will be missed out on.
Acceptance and trust. Two common words, two difficult concepts.
I pray you stand in agreement with Job who declared:
“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21 (ESV).
Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen