Sleepless in LA
I’m really good at going to sleep. What I’m not good at is staying asleep.
Like you, I have a lot of responsibility, love a lot of people, but have very little control over any of the circumstances of my life concerning those responsibilities and those people I love. Really, when I think about it, I have zero control.
Nevertheless, I live my daylight hours as if I really did have some control. I make leadership decisions after weighing options, form careful sentences to put in sermons, articles, and books, and try to do as much as I can to make the world a better place for the people I love.
And then, I fall into bed exhausted but satisfied with all my illusions of control.
Out of Control!
Until about 2:00 AM. There’s something about the hours between midnight and dawn that force you to admit that you are powerless, that you have no control, that in spite of your desperate efforts, you’re living life on the precipice of disaster.
Usually there’s one problem that preoccupies my anxious thoughts. One possible disaster that could unravel everything for me, and the people I love.
Sometimes it’s a new lesion on my skin. “What if this disease is stirring up again and it escapes from my blood to a vital organ? I’ll be dead in two months! Oh no, what will Judy do then? What will happen to the church? My children and grandchildren?”
Other times it’s some petty troublemaker or purposeful underminer in the church. “What if they cause division in our fellowship? We’ll have to put together endless meetings and people will get hurt. How will it damage the church? Our staff members?”
One of our children or their families always seems to be facing something that worries me. “What if she doesn’t get enough time to finish those papers in grad school? What if he has to deploy again to a warzone? I wonder how he’s doing with the pressures of junior high?”
About ten minutes into this worry-fest, the Holy Spirit reminds me of a truth I can’t deny: The things that worry me the most are the things that are the most out of my control. And that is exactly where the Lord wants me—living with absolute proof of my need for Him!
So what worries you most?
When you answer that question, you’ll know the exact place in your life where Jesus is ready to do His most transformational work!
Here are a couple of verses that help me when I finally get it that this worry is the Lord’s way of teaching me deep lessons of humble faith: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
The re-realization that He’s the only One who can really do anything about my worries is both humbling and comforting. Humbling when I admit how foolish it was to think about these problems as if I could fix them. Comforting when I consider that Someone perfectly reliable and strong cares for me—that I am His personal concern.