Control is an illusion. We like to think that we are in control of what goes on in our lives, but the reality is that we are not completely. Sure we can decide what color socks we wear and what we eat for breakfast. However, we don’t decide some of the bigger things in life like when we are born or when we die. We don’t decide what family we are born into or what in geographical location we come into this world. We don’t completely decide what people come in and out of our lives. We can try as hard as we might to get a particular job, yet we may not be able to secure that job. We don’t get to choose when or if we are hit with a sudden illness, disease, or accident. In fact, there are many things that we don’t even see or know about that are decided for us.
In Psalm 139:5 (ESV) David talked about how God hemmed him in “behind and before”. In other words, the circumstances that surround our lives are hemmed in behind and before by God. Nothing that occurs in our lives is a surprise to God even though it may be a shock to us. God is the God of all creation, and He is in control of what happens here.
This can be hard for people to understand. They even may get angry about it if you tell them that they really have little control. After all, we want to know that we are safe and secure. We want to know that things will go our way. We work hard to ensure that we feel in control of what is happening and that our lives are ordered the way we intend them to be.
I think of it as our longing for Eden. When God created Adam, God placed Adam in perfection. The world around Adam was perfect and Adam’s relationship with God was perfect. It was built into us to want this perfect world and relationship with God. However, the Fall of man ruined this for us all. Now there are a lot of things that are outside of our control for us to worry about.
Anxiety is one way that we try to control the world around us. I have often found that worry happens when people feel they have no other way to control a situation. The worry is their way of trying to control those things over which they really have little control. Think about the kinds of things we tend to worry about: bad things happening, death, destruction, accidents, illness, and so on. These things are outside of our control, so we worry about them. Subconsciously, we feel a little more in control when we worry.
This is why I say that control is an illusion. You walk through your life thinking things are going the way you planned then…BAM! You get hit with a ton of bricks that you never anticipated. You lose someone you love. You lose your job. You are told you have cancer. The list could be endless.
The only resolution to this dilemma that I have found is to rest in God. For God, control is real. He is sovereign over this world. Psalm 115:3 (ESV) states, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” God works all things out according to His will (Ephesians 1:11). In fact, as part of God’s redemptive plan for His creation, Christ conquered death, the thing we all fear the most!
Control is an illusion…for us. Control is real for God. Rest in Him because He truly is our strong fortress. “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2 NIV).