As one prominent Bible Study author is fond of saying, I don’t have a knowledge problem so much as an obedience problem.
One of the concepts I struggle with most is that I am not “junior God.” Having gone to church for most of my life, I am predisposed to believe that God is in control and can provide numerous examples from my own life to prove it is true.
However, my constant worries about the future stand in direct contrast to this belief.
Earlier this year, I took something called a Strengths Finder assessment for a class I completed on nonprofits. By the end of the quiz, the computer had a better appreciation for my personality than most people I know.
My strongest characteristic was revealed to be deliberative: “You know that the world is an unpredictable place…For you, life is not a popularity contest. Life is something of a minefield. Others can run through it recklessly if they so choose, but you take a different approach.”
I am not comforted by the idea that if you see 10 troubles coming down the road, nine of them will fall into the ditch before they get to you. My tendency is to multiply those 10 by a factor of 10 and to develop a contingency plan for each.
I got a rude awakening on April 27, 2011.
A disaster of that scale hitting so close to home never made it into all the worst case scenarios I had drawn up for Zac, Wyatt and myself.
After the storm, I found myself looking heavenward and asking, “What happened? I thought I was doing right by trying to be prepared for anything, but I never saw that coming.”
The reply I sensed was “Oh, daughter of so little faith, when are you going to stop striving for answers and just trust that I have them?”
Unfortunately, recognizing the futility of my efforts hasn’t led to much of a change in my behavior.
I still find myself trying to predict the future and forcing things to happen on my own timing rather than waiting for them to come to fruition in due season.
But every year about this time I must admit my own powerlessness when I accompany Zac to the cardiologist.
Zac was born with a heart defect that will require open heart surgery one day. The question is not “if” but “when.”
Although we dare not say it out loud, I think Zac and I get nervous before each visit as we wonder if this is the year the doctor will say that the day we’re dreading is here.
Thankfully, that has not been the case. For the past five years, the ultrasound of Zac’s heart has shown no significant change.
For the time being, the scales are balanced in his favor because he is a young man who maintains a healthy weight and takes his medicine diligently. While Zac is content to simply accept this good news, I usually have to rain on the parade by pressing the doctor for more information.
Specifically, I want a timeline. This man is a leading expert in his field. Surely he can tell me if surgery is 30 years away or more like 10.
Of course, the good doctor is trained to dodge this line of questioning. As far as he is concerned, I operate on a “need to know” basis. I’m allowed to know that surgery won’t be necessary today and it’s highly unlikely that it will be in the 364 days that follow.
When it’s time to know more than that, I will.
As I sat in the exam room with Zac this week, it occurred to me that God operates on similar terms. In heaven’s classroom, that’s called faith.
The opening lyrics to the hymn “Living By Faith” were stuck in my head for the rest of the day:
“I care not today what the morrow may bring,
“If shadow or sunshine or rain.
“The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
“And all of my worries are vain.”