I love the message in Carrie Underwood’s popular song, Jesus Take the Wheel. The lyrics are a potent reminder that we are totally dependent on God’s grace and mercy. Often we like to fool ourselves into thinking we’ve got our lives under control, when in reality, one twist of events or tragic incident can turn our lives upside down.
Every season of life holds its challenges and uncertainties, situations outside of our control which will test our faith and at times shake us to the core. When these times of testing come, how can we prepare ourselves to entrust our lives and futures to the Lord?
Relinquish control – Let go and let God may be a catchy phrase, but it can prove a challenge to follow. I’ve had the opportunity to water ski only once in my life. Prior to leaving the dock, the people I was with shared some tips on how best to go about it. The most important tip they shared was that if I fell, I need to let go of the rope handles. I thought to myself, how silly. Why wouldn’t I let go? But sure enough, when I fell, my first instinct was to cling to that handle for dear life. I paid dearly for my mistake with sore arms and flooded nostrils.
Often we make a similar mistake in our lives. We hold too tightly to something or someone instead of trusting God to work things out. Recognizing God’s sovereignty can garner not only peace of mind, but spare us the hardships of wrong choices.
Praise Him Anyway – Scripture speaks repeatedly of the importance of giving God praise and glory. It’s easy to praise God in the good times, but when things go awry, the Lord asks us to do the unthinkable–thank Him for the hardships. 1Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I think of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, who were imprisoned in a Nazi prison camp during World War II. Amazingly, Betsie praised God for the infestation of fleas which kept the guards away and allowed them to hold a Bible study in the prison barracks. Now that’s praising God in all circumstances! When we give God praise despite our circumstances, we’re saying we trust Him with our very lives and that we honor His wisdom and authority.
Take the Next Step – Life’s challenges can stifle our attitudes and paralyze our efforts. Setbacks come. Hopes and dreams go unfulfilled. And we wonder if what we’re working toward is worth the effort. But God has a way of turning things around. Much like walking with a flashlight at night, we see only a dim reflection of what life has in store for us, while God sees the whole picture and knows what’s ahead. When life knocks us down, we must learn to pick ourselves up, take the next step, and trust God to show the way.
How about you? What situations force you to realize you need to give God control?