The Illusion of Control

On this Good Friday, I was listening to the crucifixion story. One verse stood out to me in a very different way than it ever has before.

Our Current Crisis

You see, over the last week, I’ve been thinking about the Coronavirus crisis and how life is so different at this point in time.

Many are experiencing first-hand the grief and pain of sickness and even death. Even more are struggling financially after job loss. Parents around the world are scrambling to motivate and move children towards continued learning. Shopping even for necessary supplies and foods can be frustrating and arduous. Connecting with others is at minimum laborious and even impossible at times.

Life is vastly different, harder in many ways. Every one of these examples is real and valid and takes effort and intentionality to move beyond.

But underlying all these changes is a deeper change that I believe is causing just as much, if not more, worry and trouble into our lives – our loss of control. Or at least, the perceived loss of it.

God’s Sovereignty

As believers, we believe that God is sovereign over all. Problem is, that practically we live day to day controlling our worlds. We plan and schedule. We set up play dates, date nights, and times for recreation and exercise. We go where we want, when we want, with some thought to what is best for us and our immediate families.

There may be activities and circumstances that come up here and there during the week that keep us from doing everything we want. Coordination is often needed to ensure everything truly important can happen as it is needed.

But very few of us experience our lives and schedules being in upheaval as they are now. Which is why we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to handle it. It reveals our deep-seated grasp to keep our lives moving in whatever ways we deem important and necessary.

Jesus’ Example

The good news of Good Friday is that Jesus models for us what we should do. Jesus believed God was sovereign and in control. He not only voiced this belief, but he lived it out in deep and practical ways – the greatest of which was his death.

What did He do? He yielded.

Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

At the moment of his death, Jesus declares God’s sovereignty even over his death. During a moment when he was abandoned by God and experiencing the separation we no longer must dread, he declared God was in charge. He gave up his right to control his life and its outcomes. He submitted his will to the Father’s. He handed himself over to God’s sovereign control.

This is a model we desperately need during these desperate days. Not just to say that God is in control, but to act like he is. To yield our days to him. To trust his action even when we can’t see it. To trust his goodness that never changes. To trust his care into a future that looks bleak. To declare that even in the chaos and confusion God is still in charge. To give up our need to control our life and its outcomes and instead to rest in the loving hand of God.

The reality is that God is no less in charge right now than he ever has been. He remains on his throne. He remains the King of kings. Just because we feel less control, does not mean the world is spiraling out of control.

Let’s allow this crisis to change our heart’s orientation to God and acknowledge his control even in the unknowns of the current situation. Let’s allow it to cause us to hold out our hands and our lives to him in a new and fresh way assured that he is good and can be trusted.

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