Control, Certainty, Clarity, and None of the Above

This past weekend at The Gathering was an important moment. It was one of those moments, as a speaker, where you absolutely know that you’ve heard from God, and have something really important to say.

I know, I know.  A lot of people think that, few people will say that, and anyone who dares, we always dismiss as being self-centered or self-righteous.  But this time, listen.  There are three things that God has told me to tell you, you can’t have.  I know.  I can’t have them either: control, certainty, and clarity.

I think that’s good news.  And that’s a bold statement, but it’s true. God is never going to give you control.  Yes, you do have control of your choices, but you don’t have control over what’s going to happen to you each and every day.  Some days in your life, maybe many days in your life you’re going to wake up into a new normal not of your own making.  Maybe it’s cancer, unemployment, divorce, even death.  These will be moments when you realize that God will never give you the one thing you want more than anything else in the world: control.  You’re never going to have true certainty.  You’re not certain of what’s going to happen today, but God is.  You’re never going to have clarity.  If I marry this person, can I clearly see the end of our marriage from the beginning? No.

Here’s what you can have.  You can have the comfort that comes from the growing confidence in the content of God’s promises.  Those promises are found in the Scriptures.  So this weekend as we talked about the bothered, the worried, and the anxious, we talked about the difference between a martyr, an exhausted fixer, and a resentful victim.  We talked about the comfort that comes from a growing confidence in God’s promises.  The truth is, you cannot control what happens to you.  You alone, though, control how you respond.  Will you worry and fret? Or will you find comfort in the content of God’s promises and grow a confident faith?  As the Swedish proverb says, “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”

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