It’s easy to feel weighed down by things that are outside of our control, which if you think about it, are, in the words of some really wise people I know in recovery, “everything beyond the tip of your nose.”
Of course, being the control freak that I am sometimes, this is not always easy to accept. I want to put people that are hurting other people in their place and tell them to act right, or I want to fix my mom’s mental illness and make it all better, or I want to teach those drivers in rush hour traffic how to use their turn signals. Or I want to do a better job of controlling my mouth and my thinking. I realize I’m not even good at having self-control myself sometimes, and Lord knows I need a lot of fixing, so it’s pointless for me to think that I am qualified to fix anyone else.
So, I need help. We need help. The whole world needs help. And this is where I’m reminded that the help is always there, whenever I ask.
Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV).”
It’s encouraging to know that God is always there when I have a problem, or when I’m tired, or lonely, or at a loss for what to do in a situation, or when I’m worried about something. I can also tell Him my biggest dreams and ask Him to help make them a reality. If it’s something that He knows is going to be good for me, I believe He is a loving Father who wants to give me the desires of my heart.
Psalm 37 says “Trust in the Lord, and do good. Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart (vv 3-4).”
Now I’m not saying that this is espousing a “name it and claim it” theology, where God is like a magic genie giving us our every want. But I believe it says that if we seek His will first, we can bring Him the desires of our hearts and every concern we have, and trust that He will bring about the best for our lives.
Sometimes He might even change the desires of my heart or help me to realign my priorities in line with what He wants for me instead of what I think is best. When I think back to my teenage years when my first breakup seemed like the end of the world, and when not having a car or a driver’s license and having to *gasp* ride the bus to school seemed like the most depressing thing ever, I can laugh because I can see that I totally had no clue!
Because He’s a good Father, I know that His answer to my prayer is not always going to be yes. It might be no, or it might be “wait.” Much like a little kid, it’s hard for me when I don’t get my way. But let me tell you, there are times I can thank Him now many times over that He didn’t give me what I thought I wanted at the time, particularly where dating and marriage were concerned! My younger self was not so great at relationships, and my older self still has a lot to learn, so I’m thankful He brought me a husband who’s had the patience of Job with me, and that we’ve been able to grow up and learn together (even if it has at times involved weeping and gnashing of teeth!).
In the book of Jeremiah, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel who had been taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. He tells them that He would ultimately deliver them from captivity. It says, “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all Your heart (Jeremiah 29:10-13).”
Whenever I feel that things are out of my control, and even though there are things within my control (i.e. my thoughts and words) that I need to work on, it’s comforting to know that just as He was there for His people back in those days, He will be there for me, and for you. Not only that, but that He loves us and wants to give us a future and a hope. The biggest hope that he’s given us is Jesus Himself. Christmas is perhaps the time of the year that we are most reminded of that Hope, but the truth is that He’s here with us every day. And He tells us to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking, because He wants to be there for us and because He loves us, enough to step down from His heavenly home, endure this world, the cold stable, the cross and all, and give up His earthly life so that we could have forgiveness of our sins and abundant life.
We can take those things over which we feel powerless to a loving Father and know that He is able to help. Who can fix something best? The One who made it.
“Father, I thank You that You are my ever-present help. Please help me to seek You when I don’t know what to do, and to seek You first before I go off and try to fix things on my own. Help us to give You our hopes, dreams, fears, worries, the whole nine yards, Lord, knowing that You know us even better than we know us, for You are our creator. I thank You that because of Jesus, we can call you Abba Father. Help us to commit our lives to You, and may we all know the Hope that we have in Jesus’ great gift of salvation, and that through Him we know how good You are and how much You love us. Help us to remember this today and every day. Strengthen our faith, Lord, and help us to walk without fear of what we can’t control. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”