If I was in control…

I read another thought-provoking post this morning from Katie-in-Uganda’s blog.

I think sometimes her blog posts seem so poignant because 1) she’s human just like me, so we go through the same thoughts and feelings, but 2) her situation of extremes sometimes makes it easier to see the truths that all-too-easily get smothered under the hectic American “way of life.”

She writes today:

“I don’t want to do this,” I half scream at her, half plead to God. “I don’t want to walk this path, I don’t want to be this person, I don’t want to raise this daughter who doesn’t know who she belongs to and sometimes hugs me tight but sometimes pushes me far. I don’t want to let this birth mom live with us, knowing she can leave whenever she pleases and rip these wounds wide open again. I don’t know if I can do this.”

“I don’t want to do this,” she sobs into my shoulder. “I don’t want to tell another parent that her child is dead. I don’t want to hold another baby while he struggles to hold on to life, ultimately failing. I don’t want to feel responsible when children in my care die. I can’t do it.”

We sit in the lantern light late into the night and the tears stream. We sit broken and I choke out the ugly words, words that have been there but I have been too appalled to voice, “I think sometimes, I am afraid to trust the will of God.” Ugly sin. All these shortcomings, all these iniquities, I let them flow. “I mean. I do trust Him. But sometimes I am still afraid of what He might bring next.”

I am not there, where that Katie is, watching a little girl who had been her daughter for years get torn in half.

I am not there, where Katie’s friend is…with a full house of mothers and dying babies.

But I’ve been in that emotional place. We all have, haven’t we? In fact, millions of us are probably there today…afraid of what God might allow next.

We sit long and spill the ugly, inadequate tears and we let His light fill up the holes.

I murmur, thinking out loud. “God did not give me a spirit of fear… perfect love drives out fear… do not be afraid I am with you…” I know these words well; they are etched in my heart.

Do I believe them? “Am I dumb enough to think that things would be better if I was in control? That things like this would not happen if I was in control?”

It hits me. “If I was in control, I would not send my only child to die for this crazy world.”

Katie goes on to talk a bit about celebrating Passover and then she echoes more familiar human thoughts, and she ends in the same place I end. (Though I don’t know that I live it like she does.)

Daily I turn my gaze in distrust. Daily I remember the Jesus who already washed clean this mess, and I fall to my knees, sorrowful and repentant. How can I not trust? And He reminds me that I must die with Him – not just that once but every single day – choosing to throw off the distrust and walk with Him in the newness of life. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes seemingly every five minutes.

Today I gaze at my Savior and I know: courage is not the absence of fear.

Courage is to say, “I am afraid,” but walk it anyway. Courage is to stand broken and limping and look into these faces around us, His faces, and say, “Not my will but Yours, Father.”

My path…my life…is nothing like this Katie’s, really. Yet it is uncanny how the same enemy attacks with the same darts of fear and weakness and doubt…and even more amazing how the same God works His marvelous way, teaching both of us the same things, that each of us may do His will where He has planted us.

Seriously…would things be any better…any easier…if I was in control? Or is it true that this ugly, messy world is somehow part of something beautiful, planned by the God who is in control?

When it comes right down to it…I think trust is only ever about one thing: the character of God.

Who do we really believe God is? Either He is love, or He isn’t. Either He is perfect, or He isn’t. Either He is in control, or He isn’t.

What we believe doesn’t change the reality, of course…but it determines whether or not we can trust Him. And sometimes I think that whether or not I will trust Him is the only thing I really do control, and everything else in my life flows from that….

Psalm 111:2-3, 7-8
Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.

The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness.

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