Pastor Robert Eckert
Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church
10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford
“Relax, God is in control.” That’s what the bumper sticker on the car ahead of me read. I was in heavy traffic on Northland Drive, and considered taking its advice literally—by closing my eyes and taking my hands off the wheel and relaxing. After all, God is in control.
I wonder if God is in control the same way I’m in control when I try to change my 10-month-old granddaughter’s diaper. I have every advantage over her be it height, weight, strength, manual dexterity, intellectual capacity. I’m in control. Or so you would think until you saw me trying to catch hold of both of her little feet while her legs flail around so I can keep her in one place with one hand, while removing her dirty diaper with the other.
Sure, God is in control and if I were to close my eyes and take my hands off the wheel that would be my version of flailing my legs in that circumstance. I’d have to be crazy to think of such a thing, wouldn’t I? Yet each of us in all sorts of ways flails our legs everyday making it nearly impossible for God to provide the love and care God desires to provide. The cumulative effect of our ignorance and foolishness is all around us in broken lives, broken homes, broken communities … a broken world.
I tried telling my granddaughter that she could relax because I was in control and two things happened. First, her legs continued to fly every which way, and then she smiled and laughed. This might come as a surprise but my granddaughter does have the world’s most adorable smile and most endearing laugh. She melted my heart as she always does.
I thought for a moment of what lies ahead. She won’t always be so innocent. There will be days when she’ll flail and kick out of anger, pain, or fear. Somewhere along the line she might even break my heart. But even if she never smiles or laughs for me again, she will always be my granddaughter and I will always love her. She will always have energy and passions and needs and desires all her own. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
In our uniquesness and individuality we, too, can afford to relax, because God is in control. He reminds us of this in Isaiah 65: 17-18 from The Message:
“Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I’ll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people.”
Relax. God is in control.