By Beth Smith
I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “If God is your co-pilot, you’re sitting in the wrong seat.” There’s a lot of truth to that, don’t you think? Still, we like control, don’t we? We each want to be the master of our own fate.
Control! When someone comes up with an idea, we often say, “Well, that’s okay, but have you considered …?” When my spouse asks me to do something, I almost always think of a reason not to do it the way he suggests. This type of attitude makes surrendering our lives to God difficult too.
Do you know when we tend to give up our control? When we have needs we cannot meet. When our problems or circumstances require more than our own human ability to resolve them. That’s when God teaches us dependence on him. And that’s a glorious, wonderful thing. Needs are the stuff from which miracles are made. When our needs meet with faith in God and commitment to him, the way is open for God to work. Of course, before we are able to surrender to him, we need to believe what he says is true and that he has the power to accomplish what he promises.
There’s an account of the result of disbelief in the Old Testament (Numbers 14). Having been miraculously brought out of Egypt, the Israelites were led by Moses to the border of Canaan, the land God had promised to them. God told Moses to send in twelve spies to look at the country and to size up the situation. When the twelve returned, all of them praised the country, saying that it was a land flowing with milk and honey. “But,” they reported, “the people of the land are huge and their cities are well fortified.”
Ten of the spies said, “We can’t conquer these people. They’re like giants. We’re like grasshoppers compared to them.” Two of the twelve, Joshua and Caleb, held a different opinion. Caleb said, “Let’s take the land. We’re well able to conquer it because the Lord is with us. Fear not!”
Caleb and Joshua saw the situation differently because they believed God was in control. They remembered God’s promise to give them Canaan. Sadly, though, the Israelites chickened out. They didn’t go into Canaan, so God allowed them to wander around in the desert for forty years until a whole new generation was born and reached adulthood. Of the original group brought out of Egypt, only Caleb and Joshua entered the Promised Land. That speaks volumes to us about believing what God says.
- When we lean on our own power, thinking we are in control, what blessings we forfeit! We are limited by our own problems and our circumstances.
- On the other hand, when we surrender to God, when we allow him to be in control, he uses our circumstances for good, to draw us closer to him.
My husband, Bert, had the most deadly type of melanoma removed from his back in 1965. It was a “get your affairs in order” diagnosis, and the doctor’s only comfort to me was that Bert would not suffer long. Death would come quickly. Fortunately, we had become Christians about a year before and belonged to a group of dedicated believers who prayed for and with us. One day, a dear elderly lady said, “Beth, as you pray for Bert, you’re praying like a child who wants her father to tie her shoes for her but won’t let go of the laces. You really must let go and let God be in control.”
When I did surrender Bert and the whole situation to God, I cannot describe the peace that came. What a blessing to release my husband to a loving, heavenly Father, trusting him no matter what the outcome! Fifty years later, Bert is still with me. But, you need to know, had Bert died, once I surrendered control I knew that a different outcome would have been all right too. God’s promise is that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We can let our loving, good Father have control. He is worthy of our trust. What shoelaces are we gripping today? Give them up. Let go. Believe God.