Taking control doesn’t guarantee safety or happiness

hands on wheel“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
Oswald Chambers

There is an illusion of safety that comes with being the driver of a car. We think we have control over the brake, the steering and accelerator, and we feel safer since we are calling the shots. We think we have control over our destination, that we will arrive safe and happy. And we can foolishly think this holds true while juggling a coffee or phone – or both!  On the other hand it takes a great deal of trust (particularly for me) to hand over the controls to an unseen pilot who sustains your life 30,000 feet in the air in a metal tube, and promises to deliver you safely to some distant destination. Yet statistically we are safer in the air! (There is a 1 in 20 000 chance of death by air travel, but only 1 in 100 by car! Read more here).

Now I know this is not a perfect analogy, but the same is true of the Christian life in many ways.

When things seem to be going wrong in our life, and we are not enjoying the level of happiness we (think we) see all around us, it is all too tempting to grab the reins and take back control over our life. We think our way (or the way of the world around us) will lead to fulfillment and lasting joy. Even if God has explicitly put certain choices off limits, our hurts push us to take back control. We may feel desperately lonely as a single woman, a childless mother or uncherished wife (talking mainly to the women here today). We think God (and others) don’t understand just how difficult it is to live like this! And in this state it may seem like a great idea to have an affair or hook up with an unbeliever, to focus on the selfish pursuit of eternal youth, or fill your life with material things that (also) can only buy short term joy. But taking control doesn’t mean we will be happy!

As Christians we have placed our lives in the hands of our Saviour. That’s how we became Christians – by submitting to Christ, to His revealed will, to His word. We chose to live with Christ as our Lord and Saviour, to walk His way, worthy of the life he called us, worthy of His name we own. So even in the hard things of loneliness or loss, God’s way is still the best way. His ‘restrictions’ are motivated by love and designed for our good! If we take control and choose to live outside of his revealed will, it won’t be long before we find ourselves in a greater state of unhappiness than we were in before.

There are no easy solutions in this fallen world, but If you are in Christ then pushing Him out the driver’s door won’t help. Try digging deeper into His living words. Try serving, try building deep relationships with others, sharing your frustrations and praying together, and growing in the knowledge of God. These things will not fulfill all our longings in this life, but they will be living inside God’s good will for us. As John Piper says (in a post entitled “Are Christians Satisfied?“):

“Christ does offer total satisfaction, much of it right now in hope and forgiveness and growing power to love. But all of it in the age to come when we will be made perfect in a perfect world. Then there will be no sense in which we will be disappointed in ourselves or in our circumstances at all.”

Choosing to go God’s way definitely means we won’t have our hands on the wheel, but the One who does is infinitely wiser and greater than we. Keep trusting Him!