As I write this post, I am on an airplane over Southeast Asia. After 24-hours of travel already, this last flight of an already long journey was delayed for a few hours due to bad weather. We did finally take off and now we are flying over our destination above the storms below and we are experiencing significant turbulence. The stewardess updated the passengers on the present situation in the local language, but her English is poor, and we could not understand the update…. After typing that last sentence, we dropped what seemed to be several feet and my stomach is now in my throat. I must admit that I do not enjoy these moments on airplanes. I know the statistics and I know that I am technically in more danger driving down the highway in New Orleans than I am flying over the Pacific Ocean, but the feeling of helplessness is so real. I am totally and entirely out of control. I am not flying the plane. I do not know what the weather is doing outside. I can’t even understand when the stewardess gives an update.
This situation strikes at an idol of my heart and what I believe to be a common idol in our modern American society – the idol of security, safety, and certainty. Many of us live under the illusion of certainty. We have good jobs, health insurance plans, retirement plans, and savings accounts. We operate as if we are sovereigns who can control our futures with good decision making and proper backup plans. This delusion can sometimes go on at length until an unexpected event destroys the certainty.
Where do you find comfort in situations like this? There is a storm raging, and you are totally and entirely out of control. On what ground do you stand when you cannot see the ground? Where do you turn when there are no options for relief or safety that can be accomplished by your own doing?
This is the doctrine we as Christians must apply to our hearts – God is sovereign. At the core of my Christianity, I believe in a God who holds the world in his hands. There is not a maverick molecule in the universe spiraling outside of God’s control. This means I am equally safe at 32,000 ft. above the ground 10,000 miles away from home just as I am sitting in my living room. In fact, this very real sense of being out of control is a better representation of my regular living condition. Any control that I think I have in my normal life is only a perceived control. God is no less in control when I feel out of control then when I feel totally in control, and this is good news.
It is good news because this God who is infinitely smarter than me and more powerful than me is also infinitely loving toward me. He works all things for the good of those who love him. We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28) Oh, what sweet safety there is in the sovereignty of God. Believe it. Trust it. Meditate upon it, because there will be moments where you need it.
By His Grace & For His Glory,
Pastor Brandon Langley
St. Rose Community Church