It was Book Club Night on Thursday – our first get-together since October. It was guaranteed to be a fun evening with friends, including food, laughs, and some poignant moments, as well, as we remembered our dear member who passed away since our last meeting.
After a pitstop for gas, I picked up a friend so we could carpool together. The ride should last about twenty-five minutes. But these are not ordinary times in our city. As I merged onto the highway to head to our destination, my vehicle joined an unnatural stream of traffic. My SUV, which is not a small car, seemed to shrink as it suddenly became the filling in a truck sandwich. We unintentionally shared the highway with the truck convoy that continues its siege on our city. These truckers from across the country are here in our nation’s capital to protest the mandates the government has put in place in response to the pandemic. Three lanes of traffic that typically raced at a speed around 120 km/hr now crawled along like a toddler across the living room floor.
My friend messaged our group chat to let them know we would not be on time. We had not anticipated this delay, but there was no way out.
We arrived an hour late because of this unexpected situation, tired and frustrated, with less gas in the tank but otherwise unharmed.
Unexpected delays. Interruptions. Cancellations. Who among us likes any of those words? Don’t you wish we had no need for them to be a part of our vocabulary at all? We often respond with statements like, “It is what it is.” or “That’s life.” Neither of them makes us feel better.
This is where you people who always leave early for appointments and Sunday morning church services get the last laugh. “See? We prepare for the unexpected!” you might say. I’d high-five you (or elbow-bump these days) if we were in the same room, but it’s not likely to change my own leave-at-the-last-second-possible ways. I’m a busy girl, okay?
Arriving at Book Club an hour late is not a big deal. But what about when more significant life plans are altered by unexpected delays, interruptions, or cancellations? What then? How do we cope with those situations? Health problems, job loss, death of a loved one, car troubles, relationship issues, natural disasters, a political demonstration … There are so many things beyond our control.
And for us control freaks, these things drive us mad, don’t they?
“It is what it is.”
These sentiments are far from helpful.
Except that’s a secular way of thinking. As Christ-followers, we believe that God has a plan and nothing deviates from that plan unless we turn our backs on Him. If we give our heart and our will to Jesus, our life becomes His to direct. The things that happen which seem like interruptions or delays are purposeful. They are part of His plan, which might not make sense to us at the moment (and might never make sense to us), but God is in control.
That doesn’t mean that believers won’t struggle or endure hardships. The promise God gives us is that He will give us strength to go through those hard times, and He will be there with us. That’s still a sweet deal: I pledge allegiance to the One who created me, and He adopts me into His family and takes care of me forever.
Letting God take charge is like having a manufacturer warranty. He created us, so He knows what is best for us. Our Manufacturer can fix us when we are broken (which often happens because we deviated from His plan and took back control). No matter how smart we think we are, God is the King of Wisdom; only He is omniscient (all-knowing).
Do you trust God with all of your plans? Do you submit your will to Him? Giving up control doesn’t have to mean losing control. It is a kind of freedom to pass everything over to Him. Not everyone will see it that way, though. Especially when you’re a control freak, and you like to see things done a certain way.
The next time you face something that seems to interrupt your life, why not whisper a prayer of thanks instead of responding in anger or disappointment? In God’s greater plan, He may have just spared you from something worse, or He may be putting someone in your path who needs your help. He might want to strengthen your faith. Thank Him for being in control.
Even if you are a truck sandwich, driving at 2 km/hr in the middle of a truck convoy …
Father, forgive me for wanting to be in charge and thinking I know what’s best. Your ways are higher than my ways, and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). I trust You in Your infinite wisdom, even when my life takes unexpected turns. I surrender the steering wheel to You. You are in control.
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