I’m the girl who wants to know and plan E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G beforehand. When we go on a trip, I write a detailed packing list and ask a million questions so that I know (as well as I can) exactly what’s going to happen and exactly what the plans are for the trip. When I’m writing, I look up dozens of articles on every aspect of the biz so I can know exactly what to expect. I think of something that I want to do with my life, and I start dreaming up tons of plans for my life, researching college and potential other jobs and…well, a bunch of other stuff.
It makes us feel more in control and prepared to face whatever comes when we know what to expect, doesn’t it? We want to be in control so that we can feel strong and put together.
So I don’t like hearing that I can’t know everything. I don’t like the fact that I can’t plan everything because there’s always going to be something that comes up and blindsides me.
I feel like my life is spinning out of control when totally unexpected things hit me, and I feel so weak and helpless when I can’t do anything about it. I feel like a mess, a failure, and I start thinking things like, God, why did you let this happen? Are you even in control? Can I trust you?!
The answer is…yes.
God is a good God. He is sovereign, powerful, omniscient, omnipotent, and so much bigger and smarter than us.
At church, one part of the sermon spoke to my control-desiring heart.
It was that we need to be fully faithful in everything that we do, no matter what we’re doing. It’s okay that we don’t know everything that’s going to happen. Even when things look bad, God is there. God is working even in the midst of the worst possible situations.
Think of Joseph in the Bible. He certainly didn’t plan for his brothers to throw him down a well and then sell him to Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. He didn’t want to be falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and then thrown in jail. But even in the midst of those terrible, scary, totally unexpected things, Joseph remained faithful to God. Instead of cursing God for allowing those things to happen to him, Joseph kept trusting that God had a bigger plan for his life. Later, he said to his brothers that God sent him to Egypt “to preserve life (Genesis 45:5).” God had a bigger plan for Joseph’s life.
Think of Job in the Bible. Terrible things kept happening to him, yet he kept trusting God.
I could keep going with people in the Bible who encountered hardships in their lives. Mary, when she found out that she would have a child as a virgin. Ruth, when her husband died, and when Ruth decided to leave her hometown to look after her mother-in-law. David, when Saul was trying to kill him. Paul, when he was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned…I could continue.
Romans 8:28 (ESV) says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Now, this verse is not saying that nothing bad will happen to us. It’s not saying that our lives as Christians are always going to be fun or that we’ll never struggle. But it is saying that God is GOOD. If we love God and commit our lives to him, He will use all the events in our lives, no matter how bad, for his good plan and purpose.
It’s easy to praise God’s goodness when our lives are going smoothly and everything’s great. It’s not so easy when we’re hit with health problems, the death of a loved one, or even moving from our comfortable home to an entirely new place. I know. And I’m not saying that I’ve got it all figured out and that it’s now super easy for me to praise God in the hard things. But God is using all of the hard things in my life to show me his goodness, his sovereignty, and his love for me.
So let’s lift up our voices and praise God, both in the good times and in the bad. Let’s remain fully faithful and trust our great King in what he’s doing.