February 8, 2014 § 3 Comments

Car Fire “I do not know You God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.”
Flannery O’Connor, A Prayer Journal

It took an extra half-hour to get into the office early yesterday morning, due to a car that caught fire within 100 yards of the church driveway entrance. Being the upstanding Christian witness that I am, with hopes that I could squeeze through the roadblock, I gently reminded the police officer that I am a pastor, to no avail (that usually works).

How many times have I had what I assumed to be the goal in site, only to be diverted by some incident, some unforeseen distraction, a phone call, an illness – you name it. And while being delayed in my arrival to the office is a small thing, the truth is that I don’t like not knowing what God is doing with my life (which is always). Especially when it plays out in ways that bring struggle, doubt and sadness.

If only I could be in control…

The adventure of the gospel is that our plans aren’t necessarily God’s design for our lives. And the truth is that if ours played out as we dreamed them, our stories would end in utter madness and disarray. We live in the realm of sterile assumptions. Our plans are based on incomplete data. We see through a ‘glass darkly.’ And we have no stomach for diversions, pain and many of the other dynamics that often accompany what turn out to be deep experiences of joy.

It isn’t so much that my plans are great, but that I don’t want to entrust my life into someone else’s hands, and maybe deeper, that I don’t want to accept the reality that there is pain in the world – in my world. But the bottom line is that God wants surrender from us – complete and total surrender. And whether we offer it to Him or not, His will will be done. So what I find is that the extent of my joy and peace rides on the level of control I am willing to lay at His feet.

Do I believe in a Sovereign God who is unequaled in His desire for my well-being?

Somewhere in the journey I want to be able to get out of the way and simply hear the Father say, ‘Here is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21) and then actually be fine with what I know that I don’t know.

And I can’t help but think that this dynamic accompanied Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He wept in anguish to the Father, filled with sorrow, yet with a ‘joy set before Him’ (Hebrews 12:1-2). In spite of His disciples’ objections, the Cross was no diversion – He knew it was our path to joy.

What good news…


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