Control

My wife was speaking today of someone we know – “she wants to stay in control of her life.”

Don’t we all?  I certainly do.

But life experiences have taught me that there is a lot I can’t control.  To a certain extent, I can control when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night.  But, even there, I am influenced by circumstances and people around me.

So now I’m pondering: Is control a bad thing in the life of faith?

It isn’t if you think of self-discipline – exercising control over the way you eat and drink or speak.  But it is if you try to decide how God should act in your life and in the lives of those around you.  He can’t be controlled.

I have known that truth for many years.  And yet, I have trouble giving things up to God.

One of the areas I have tried to control is the ministry of prayer in our church.  I am our church prayer coordinator.

With others in our church, I have helped prepare prayer strategies and I have developed prayer courses.  But I am not sure that all that effort has had much effect.

As I read the stories of some Christian leaders, I see that this experience is not unusual in the Western Christian church.  Many leaders have worked hard to build their churches only to see little change.  But things change when they come to the end of their ropes and throw up their hands and say: “God, I give up!  You do what you want.”

I can see this in the Bible. Moses thought he knew how to help his Hebrew brothers, but found himself fleeing into exile and spending 40 years in the desert.  His way was not God’s way.  God prepared him in the wilderness for the time he would lead his people out of Egypt.  When Moses did take leadership, he would not budge without God’s presence and guidance.

That’s where I need to be.

But I am plagued with questions: What does God want me to do in this area of prayer?  Does he want me to step back entirely?  Has he other plans?

I am spending time now in prayer and Bible reading and listening to people to see if God has something to say to me.  I am learning – slowly – to listen.

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