Honesty time: What is outside my control is still in God’s control. This is a statement I have no problem remembering or believing.
Where the rub comes in for me is: how can I trust that God wants what I want?
Because as I know from the Bible, His thoughts and ways are different and higher than mine. As it should be. He’s God and I’m not. Hallelujah.
So why do I still find myself in this place where I need things to be within my reach, or in my control, to know peace?
Anna is not a robot. And change is constant. And life is never predictable, sometimes painful, and always a gift. And there is an ocean-sized amount of things I don’t know and will never know.
Motherhood has revealed that my view of God was a little small.
Is it enough that God knows what He is doing and I don’t? Is it enough that He is God and I am not—and all that entails? Is it enough that His unchanging nature is sovereign, all-powerful, merciful, and loving? Is it enough that He can, and delights to, meet every need my people will ever have, even Anna at 10-months-old, even if He doesn’t use me to do it?
As Tim Keller says, “Worry is always a stab at the integrity of God’s love. It is not innocent. It always stems from an overconfidence in your own opinion.”
My peace, courage, and faithfulness as a mom can’t be grounded in my version of what’s comfortable. The reality is, even when Anna is in my arms, her well-being isn’t ultimately in my control. And if she’s discontent or hurting somehow, that doesn’t give me license to be unkind to those around me or live tense in anxiety. My proximity to, knowledge of, and care for her can’t be the main source of rest and contentment. Even our wisdom as her parents only goes so far.
I experience peace when I, as her mom, can meet her needs.
But that shouldn’t be the standard because there will be innumerable moments in our years together that I won’t be able or expected to meet them.
I am confident that God helps us make wise, good decisions. But that confidence can’t go out the window when I’m not the one making decisions.
It is a grace to see my need, every person’s need, for God, but what God am I turning to?
The one I too often jam into a human mold? The one I’m afraid won’t be enough when pain comes? OR the one I see in the Bible, the one who met my greatest and deepest need for salvation by sacrificing His Son in my sinful place, the one who deserves to be first place in my life, the one who indwells me?
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the moment), seeing my need usually comes in the same breath as a challenging, scary, navel-gazing, or sanctifying moment.
“He is the Father of mercies. He is not cautious in his tenderness toward you. He multiplies mercies matched to your every need, and there is nothing he would rather do . . . Your gentlest treatment of yourself is less gentle than the way your heavenly Father handles you. His tenderness toward you outstrips what you are even capable of toward yourself,” Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly (133).
Our limitations can either be a reason to live under the weight of fear of everything but God, or they can be an entry point of knowing, glorifying, and seeing Him in ways we might never otherwise.
It might feel like it’ll stretch me beyond my capacity, but I can be filled with courage and peace insofar as I believe God has no limits, on His reach or on His beauty or on His love. He is my God-sized God.
Is He yours?
Originally published on the author’s blog