“Don’t worry, I’ve got it.” “Don’t you know, I’ve got it under control?” “I’m afraid and don’t know what to do!” “If I knew what to do, I’d do it.” From confidence and control to fear and doubt, we reflect where we are emotionally and practically. Unfortunately, neither end of the spectrum is accurate.
Whatever we think we control, we don’t. And whatever we are afraid of is not the way it seems. We pray for insight and wisdom, safety, and support. Those prayers come from a deep-seated understanding of reality that we are actually not in control.
I cannot even recount the times when I was sure I understood the facts of a situation, the realities of a relationship, or the terms of a contract only to discover that I only grasped some of the facts, understood only a part of a relationship, or grasped some of the terms of the contract.
I remember a time when we were remodeling our office building and had a contractor we trusted. We had a contract in place and as the project dragged on and on with the contractor consistently asking for the next draw before the prior draw’s work was complete, did we realize that the contractor was low on cash because of costs overruns on other jobs and he was manipulating us to cover his prior mistakes.
I remember a time when our indigenous partner in an overseas Business for Missions project stole from us. Our mistake was trusting him implicitly when in actuality it was him versus us from the beginning. We thought we knew, we did not.
Thinking back on some of the stories from the Bible, I cannot imagine the shock after all that had taken place with the Israelites leaving Egypt, Moses returned from the mount with the 10 Commandments from God and found His people worshipping a golden calf.
There are personal tragedies that emerge unexpectedly in our families. My emotional upheaval when faced with the truth of my brother’s diagnosis of AIDS, and his eventual death from it. You think you understand what’s true and it turns out to be something quite different.
So, when we come to grips with the reality that we are not in control, it raises a couple of questions: If I’m not in control, who is? Or is it all just random occurrences without any thought or design behind it? And then, is there a purpose or plan for my life that I‘m not aware of or know anything about?
One of the principals of the Retirement Reformation message, one that differentiates it from the message of our culture, is that we are called to be faithful for a lifetime. It is within that context that the partial verse from Psalms 31:15 is being used as a title to this blog, “My times are in Your hands.”
During a time of great persecution of the early Christian church, the Bible book, Hebrews, was written. While we don’t know the writer, we do understand those to whom he or she was writing. In the 3rd chapter, the writer in verse 6 says, “If we hold fast our confidence and boast (firm understanding with confidence) of our hope we stand firm until the end”.
When we think we’ve got it, we are reminded that being faithful to the end is the real marching order. When we don’t look inward for our faith, but we look upward for our faith, our God will guide us into all truth and the next step in His action plan for us.
Faithful for a lifetime suggests our carrying out His plan to the very end of our lives. As followers of the Retirement Reformation message, those plans extend during all three phases of retirement and only cease when we move from this earthly Kingdom to our heavenly one.
We are not in control, but we can follow God’s plan for our lives as He opens and closes the doors of opportunity and we take steps in faith. These are the two key points; 1. Taking the next steps and, 2. Taking them with faith
Another question arises: How do we live with the uncertainty of our times framed by the bombastic assertions of many leaders that they have the answers to our questions and desire to know? They can’t and don’t.
What we can do is pray for discernment, live with some degree of uncertainty, and follow the dictates of our faith and Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor.” Our faith comes from our upward relationship and hope is found in eternity with God. This understanding is critically important for each of you and all of us who claim the faith.
The challenge of the Retirement Reformation, “Be more than vulnerable and do more than nothing” rings out clearly. The little pin on my lapel reminds me why I retire for Him. Our Retirement Reformation gives us the firm grounding in why we retire for him. “My times are in your hands” certainly provides the foundation for each of our understandings of who is in control and what is true.
In His name and for His Purpose as we travel the journey of the Retirement Reformation together.