Sometimes life feels out of control. Problems you can’t predict. Circumstances that catch you by surprise. Situations that remind you are not as strong as you think you are.
Whether it’s your marriage, your health, your finances, there are things you just don’t have control over. Matter of fact it feels like they have control over you.
They control your emotions. They control how you think. They control how you feel and if you are not careful they can influence how you make decisions.
I remember my out of control moment. It was about 5 years ago, my wife and I had been trying for our first child. After many months, she finally got pregnant. We were so excited.
It was the first week of January, life was good, my wife was about a month pregnant, I was going to be ordained as a pastor, and then it happened.
My wife woke up the middle of the night with extreme stomach pain. She was bleeding heavily. We rushed her to the hospital. After some examinations, I overheard the doctors say “Fetal decease.”
No, it can’t be. I must have misheard. Maybe he was talking about someone else. Not us, not know. How could God allow this?
You know you are in an “out of control moment” because after the shock wears off you find your yourself wondering “God what happened?” Life feels out of control. You can’t think clearly, your heart is numb, your mind is unclear. Maybe God fell out of control, maybe he wasn’t in control in the first place.
Back to my story, the next 6 months were horrible. I remember one night, it was June. We had gone away for a weekend in hopes of finding rest and some peace. That night my wife had an anxiety attack. She could not sleep. So I placed my hands on her back and began to pray. My lips were moving but I was thinking this ain’t working. You have to understand I had been praying and praying and praying for at 6 months and nothing. Anxiety was still there. The pain of a miscarriage was still there. That helpless feeling when you know you are in a difficult situation but clueless on how to get out. I was discouraged, I kept thinking this can’t be our new norm.
When things are out of control, they influence how you feel and how you think, if you are not careful they can sap your faith.
I wish I could tell you that I was a spiritual giant… I wasn’t which is what fascinates me about Joseph.
In Genesis, we learn that after receiving a dream, being thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, he ends up in jail, helps out a cupbearer and a baker. They forget him. I don’t know if I would have been able to endure all that he suffered.
But things do turn around for him, Joseph interprets Pharoahs dream, that’s like me helping out the president of the united states. Pharoah responds saying “where can we find a man like this.” Talk about a recommendation. Talk about a promotion. Joseph finds himself second to Pharoah. He helps save many a famine, including his brothers. Yes, those same brothers he betrayed him.
We learn his brothers go down to Egypt to purchase grain, not knowing it was him, not know it was joseph they were buying grain from. And when he finally confronts his brothers – they are broken and afraid – and he makes this statement…
“he tells his brothers don’t be afraid, don’t be distressed because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5
Did you catch that? His brothers throw him in a pit, leave him for dead but instead sell him as a slave. He is falsely accused, imprisoned, forgotten and his response to all of those difficult situations is “God sent me ahead of you.” He says God allowed all of these out of control situations in my life because he wanted me to help save a nation.
In other words when things are out of control in my life… God is still in control… he has a purpose for my pain…
Is that not a crazy response? He’s not mad at God, he’s not mad at his brothers… he understood that his entire life the good and the bad, the easy and the hard are in God’s hands. And according to Romans 8:28 – “God works out all things for the good of the those that love him.”
He’s is working out all things… the good and the bad moments… even the out of control moments…
So what do we do when things get out of control? How should we respond when our hearts are broken, our hope is shattered when we are betrayed by someone we love, when our bodies fail us, when our friends deceive us, when our finances run off without us. How should we respond when things are out of control?
Easy, when life is out of control, when need to trust that God is in control. We need to trust that there is a purpose behind our pain. We need to trust that God is still in control. Because even though my life is out of control, God is still in control… and he is working out your situation for the good.
We need to learn to trust gods character, that he is not a man who should lie. On the contrary, he is true to his word. If he said something will pass it will pass…
if he gave you a promise he will fulfill the promise.
Be at peace that your life is in God’s hands.
So when things are going crazy rest in that truth… when my life is out of control, when your life is out of control, rest in the truth, rest in the fact, that god is still in control.
And by the way, if you are wondering… 7 months after the miscarriage my wife was pregnant and we had our first baby boy – Nicholas who is an amazing young man and then 2 years we had our little one, Silas… and when I look at them I am reminded that even when our lives feel out of control god is still in control…