Ok, so ice skating down a 6% grade with an eighty thousand pound truck doesn’t scare me, but the thought of going under anesthesia terrifies me. Go figure. Yesterday morning I went to the dentist to have a couple teeth pulled while I was under. The dentist ended up pulling 2 molars and 2 wisdom teeth.
Now I know that millions of people every year undergo anesthesia… but not me. It’s been near fifty years for me.
So why did I fear? Is it lack of confidence in the dentist? No. Is it the pain I was sure I would feel? No.
I just don’t like not having control.
But that’s exactly the point. We don’t have control. At best we have an illusion of control. The Bible tells us that God is in control.
Does that mean we will always get what we want our that we will never have pain? No. It means that whatever happens, even the bad and painful stuff, God is allowing. Doesn’t it mean that God causes the pain? NO! God is good and will never cause pain. But He allows it.
Sometimes it’s a consequence of our bad choices (like my teeth being bad because I neglected dental help for so long).
Sometimes it’s a result of other’s bad choices (like a DUI accident that takes a life).
Sometimes it’s a result of the broken, fallen nature of the universe (like disease or so-called natural disaster).
So if I’m not in control and God allows bad things in my life, what should be my response?
Worry? Anxiety? Desperation? Resignation?
Nope. Both Jesus and Paul taught what to do when life throws us curveballs…
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.