The day my dad died is one I will never forget. Besides experiencing the normal emotions of grief and brokenheartedness, I also found myself angry with him. Weakened by his cancer and the accompanying treatments, there was little he could or was supposed to do without help. To this day I will never know why he thought it was a good idea to take himself to the bathroom in the dark in the middle of the night without help. But he did. As a result, he fell and hit his head, aspirated and went into a coma that he never came out of, dying hours later.
I will never forget the conversation I had with my sister later that day. Crying, I lamented that had he asked for help, he would not have died that day to which she lovingly, but pointedly replied with this: “Where is it that we, as humans, get off thinking that we have so much control in this life?” She was right, of course. My theology was way off that day.
As I look around me, watching what once seemed like a civilized nation fall apart at the seams, I am reminded that there is little around me that I can control. Things like death, the raising up of world leaders and the evil performed by others, are simply out of my hands.
If this all sounds a bit depressing, I actually see it quite differently. God made each one of us for a distinct purpose in a distinct moment in history. Right now, as believers in Jesus, we have an awesome opportunity to show the world who He is. What we can control is how we live our lives in front of a watching world. We get one chance in this life to make God look good, to make Him famous. The choices we make, whether we realize it or not, speak volumes about this Person we call our Savior.
These choices aren’t always big and groundbreaking. Often they consist of the small things in the everyday that if continued over time will make a difference for better or for worse. The choices I deal with daily often involve getting my financial act together. Being knee-deep in debt is not only wrong, it’s a horrible testimony. Not to mention that being constantly worried about money is one way Satan keeps me distracted from doing what God has called me to do.
We have control over so much more than we think, and I was reminded of a verse in church yesterday that speaks directly to this issue of choosing wisely in the areas God has given us control of.
“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense” (2 Chronicles 29:11, NIV).
What areas of your life require hard choices to be made in order to take control from the enemy? What has God called you to right now, and what are the distractions keeping you from fulfilling that purpose?