I’ll admit it, I like to be in control. I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy being in control of their situation. Have you ever driven with a backseat driver? Yep, me too. And often, I’m the backseat driver if somehow you were able to talk me into not driving (because I’m always the driver…because I like to be in control).
When it comes to being out of control, I think there is a huge amount of fear. Rightly so! To not be able to control your situation, the outcome, the circumstance, is hard to do because that means we have to sit back and let it all play out. It’s like sitting in a rollercoaster blindfolded, not in control of the ride and having no idea when the twists and turns or drops will come. But they will come, no doubt about it.
I think Joshua in the story below is living in the tension of not being in control, but believing and trusting in God, who is always in control. There is always this element of tension, because so much of our lives is out of our control. I can’t make my puppy listen, as much as I would love to. She does what she wants, and then will listen if I have a treat or food to give her! In the wintertime in Michigan, I can’t control the amount of snow we get and how often I have to shovel and how long shoveling takes. If I could control this, I would be a millionaire because who wouldn’t pay good money to not have to shovel ever again, but stay in the nice warm bed and sleep an extra hour?
Here’s the story as told in Joshua 11:6 (NLT):
Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men. Then you must cripple their horses and burn their chariots.”
Now this out-of-control situation is one we will probably never be in ourselves. Ultimately Joshua was the one physically engaging in the battle, but he was not really in control of the outcome. God told him not to be afraid, not to worry, because God Himself will “hand all of them over to Israel.” So, Joshua, don’t worry about your life or the lives of your warriors or their families, because God is in control. But it is war. How can you not be afraid? How can you not be worried?
The tension is that we can be in scary circumstance, in scary situations way beyond our ability to comprehend let alone control, and yet not be afraid. Instead, we can find the hope and freedom from fear that God gives when we recognize and understand God’s place in all situations. He is powerful, He is in control, He is good, and He desires great things for us. This doesn’t mean every situation is great, and if a situation is hard or scary or terrible we’re in the wrong. Often that is actually not true. But, we can trust our Heavenly Father. We can trust Him and believe in the Son that He sent to die for us and experience this freedom from fear.