Is Your Life Out of Control? There May Be a Message from God
Find the unique gifts hidden in the times you want to give up — and claim the blessings the Lord has waiting
Though everyone experiences times of trouble and trial, these can be especially hard for people of faith.
This might seem counterintuitive: Those who believe in God know their fate rests with a compassionate, sovereign God who loves them deeply, personally and unconditionally — the ultimate expression of a father’s all-encompassing love for his child.
That leads to this question during struggles, however: “Since I believe in God, shouldn’t my path be easier?”
When hard times happen — and there is no avoiding them; they’re part of our shared humanity — by faith we have to cling to one fact: God is still at the wheel in our lives.
A song made popular by recording artist Carrie Underwood tells us to do that very thing when we have reached the place where we can no longer see daylight.
In “Jesus Take the Wheel,” we’re reminded to ask: “Jesus, take the wheel / Take it from my hands / ‘Cause I can’t do this on my own / I’m letting go / So give me one more chance / And save me from this road I’m on / Jesus, take the wheel…”
“Over the years,” said the evangelist Billy Graham during his ministry, “I’ve found that people often react to hard times in one of two ways. Some get angry at God and turn against Him — which is tragic, because they’re cutting themselves off from their only source of lasting help. Others, however, turn to God and find comfort and strength in Him.”
Sometimes we bring our hard times on ourselves, noted Graham, because we’ve “made unwise decisions” or “disobeyed God’s moral laws.”
The answer in this case is clear: We need repentance, the sincere seeking of forgiveness that can only come through Christ.
But what if we never understand the reason for our trials? This is a particularly hard situation for human beings who, by nature, seek answers. We are at ease only when the “why” of any given challenge is firmly established. In other words, we need to make sense of our pain.
If our questions regarding our struggles do remain forever unanswered, we are still loved. This is critical to remember in the hard times, when the light at the end of the tunnel is dim at best.
This is part of the leap of faith a true believer understands; we trust that God is in control, even when life is distinctly out of control. While this component of faith seems paradoxical to non-believers, it is the paradox in which the true believer thrives.
The Bible says as Christians we can even “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
What if — despite our prayers and our acceptance of the fact that we may never know why we had to experience a certain pain — things don’t improve? Does this mean we are unloved?
Definitely not. We just may have something to learn that is for our ultimate good — or we may need to draw closer to God, the lasting source of our comfort and our strength.
“Sometimes we aren’t relieved by God. Sometimes we merely endure,” explains author J. Stephen Lang for the Christian Broadcast Network. “This isn’t such a bad thing. We are never nearer to God than when we are troubled. In times of comfort and ease, we forget Him.”
The answer is the help we pray for sometimes.
“Sometimes the answer is, ‘Lean on me, and you will survive and thrive,’” notes Lang.
To put your faith in action, try prayerfully following this four-step exercise when you are struggling under a heavy burden — it will bring results.
- Find the promise of God in your Bible that offers what you need at that particular time.
- By the grace of God, meet the condition in the promise. Do your part. One important factor is to believe with all your heart that God will do for you exactly what He says in His promise.
- Take this promise to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to do for you as specified in the promise.
- As you ask God to fulfill His promise, believe that He does it at that moment.
What a loss people experience when they fail to claim God’s promises. It is yet another attempt at control to believe in God but not truly believe in His assurances to us.
If, however, we remember in the thick of our struggles that God’s hand is upon us, guiding us — at times holding us up — the struggle becomes a journey of faith that brings us closer to Him.
Hear Carrie Underwood sing, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” in the video below.