Our office just went through a software upgrade to Microsoft Office 365. (For the record, this is not an advertisement; I’m just stating the facts.) With the upgrade comes a little message that remains constant every time my email inbox is empty: “It’s a wrap! Well done, everything’s now under control.”
If my inbox only knew.
Wouldn’t life be grand if an empty email inbox signified that everything is now under control? Ah, if life were only that simple. But it’s not. Although I’m not as skeptical as Clive Barker who wrote, “The control we believe we have is purely illusory, and every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion,” I do believe that much of life is beyond our control.
I cannot control whether or not someone runs a red light and broadsides me. I cannot control the ludicrous weather patterns of Central Indiana. I cannot control how many people show up for worship services at the church I serve. I cannot control gas prices. I cannot control whether or not my daughter’s flight to Costa Rica makes it. I cannot control whether or not my son gets a brain tumor.
I’m not trying to be morbid or defeatist, but I believe greater peace comes when we accept the fact that most of life is beyond our control. It’s when we try to take control of everything that our stress level rises, and our anxiety awakens.
Jesus clearly stated, “Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life” (Matthew 6:25). Why not? Because we’re not in control!
Without question, we do have and should have, control over certain aspects of our lives. We should control our tongues, attitudes and actions. We should control how we react when provoked. We should control how we use social media. We should control our spending, time management, and how many episodes of The Walking Dead we really need to see in order to live a fulfilled life.
But just because we exercise control doesn’t mean all of life is under control. It’s that “under” part that tends to create stress—that cancer that isn’t under control; that job loss that isn’t under control; that wayward child who is no longer under your “control.”
Peace comes not from life being under control but from the One who is “over” control. When we place our faith, hope and trust in our loving, heavenly Father who is over all, we step into His realm of peace, even when much of life is not under control.
King David once wrote, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). David could sleep at night, not because his life was void of problems and pain, but because he trusted that God the Father “is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).
So, the next time you clean out your email inbox, give yourself a pat on the back. “It’s a wrap! Well done.” And then give thanks to the God of heaven who is in control even when life seems out of control. God sees what we do not see, and God does what we cannot do. Now, that's a wrap.