Whatever 2018 Brings, God is in Control
If my faith in God is conditional upon an easy life, then it's no faith at all.
I love writing down New Year’s resolutions. It’s like gazing down on all my dreams from a mountaintop of expectancy. I feel like only good things await me. Then dark whispers of what could go wrong threaten to knock me from the mountaintop like gusts of frigid wind.
As I get older it only seems to get worse. The winds come more often. They blow harder. The mountaintop of expectancy doesn’t feel so safe. The Bible verses I’m used to reciting don’t seem to calm my stomach as much as they once did.
“I’ve Got You”
When people ask me why I don’t share their love for rainy days, I usually make some joke about preferring sunshine. I don’t tell them the real reason.
I’m afraid of car wrecks, thanks to a bad experience in childhood. Invariably, heavy rain always seems to come on a day that I have to drive somewhere.
Recently it rained cats and dogs for about eight hours straight. Sitting at my desk, I heard it. All day. I checked my phone’s weather app obsessively to see if the rain would clear before I drove home. It didn’t.
Later I was nearing my exit off the toll road, taking it slow as I approached the part where I merge into the exit lane. There’s usually a lot going on at that point in the road; cars are merging from another highway as well. Even on a sunny day, you have to be extra watchful.
I looked over my shoulder. Nothing. Clearest stretch of highway I’d ever seen. I merged into the exit lane with with confidence.
See? I felt God say. I’ve got you.
I started breathing easy again. Then, on the other side of the toll road, I saw the flashing lights of emergency response vehicles, miles of stalled traffic behind them, and crunched cars getting loaded onto tow trucks.
What about them? I asked of the people involved in that wreck. Did you not have them? What if that had been me?
His response: I had them. And I still would have had you.
I tend to make my faith in God conditional. I tell myself he’ll never let me suffer another bad car accident. He’ll never let me walk through anything unbearably tragic.
But that’s a lie. A flat out lie. Nothing guarantees a life of ease for Christ’s followers, or anyone. If my faith in God is conditional upon such ease, then it’s no faith at all.
It’s also a misconception to think God holds us in his loving embrace only as long as life is working out, and that as soon as something bad happens, he lost control. Or doesn’t love us as much as he used to.
What God was telling me on that rainy drive is that he is always in control. It doesn’t matter if I encounter tragedy today, die tomorrow or live to be 100. He is always looking out for me, no matter what happens.
That’s comforting. Especially as I realize that bad things are inevitable in a fallen world. When they happen to me, I don’t have to wonder if God isn’t in control anymore, or if he isn’t looking after me. Instead, I’ll have him to lean on, even in the most difficult of times.
So I’m ready for 2018. I’m ready for all the good things I hope, pray and expect to happen. But I’m also ready for the things that could happen. Because painful as they might be, I’ll remember what God has said:
I’ve got you. Always.