“Not In Our Own Hands”
by Pastor Jack M. Briggs
Someone you know may currently have one. You may have had one. I had one. I’m not talking about some ailment, but rather a raggedy piece of fabric that we dragged around everywhere we went. Soft and snuggly and a source of comfort, it is a security blanket, otherwise known as a “blankie” in technical terms. Even as grownups, our “blankie” may be family, or a regular daily routine, or a fat bank account, or health and fitness. Maybe it is having lots of friends.
We spend a lot of time, energy---and money!--- trying to control our own fortunes and destiny and make the world work the way we think it should. But at some point, we find out that the security and safety we long for just cannot be found in the things we cling to in this world---our “blankies.”
As Christians, we believe that our destiny is not ultimately in our own hands, the hands of world leaders, or technology, or anything else of this world. It is in God’s hands. The problem we face is that there are times when we simply do not see it, or really, honestly believe that all things work together for good.
Consider the passing of a loved one, especially a child. Attempting to console, invariably someone will blurt, "Well, God must have needed another angel in heaven. We have to accept God's will. This will all work out for good somehow." Really?! God did this? That the child’s death is God's will? That this death will bring somehow bring good into our lives? For the record, the child was what was good, so very good. His or her death is what is bad! Make no mistake. Bad things happen in our world and in our lives: sickness, suffering, death, accidents, addiction, crime, abuse, war, floods, tornadoes - you name it.
The notion that all things happen for good according to God’s purpose doesn’t ignore the realities of pain and evil and suffering in our world. But it does mean that this world and our lives are not in our own hands, but in God’s loving hands, God who so loved us that God sent his only Son to die for us. So to believe that in all things God works for good is as much a statement of faith. True, there may be many times when we will not see or recognize the good even if it were right in front of us, and may have to accept that our definition of good may not always square with what God calls good in God's infinite wisdom.
Yes, God's will be done in the end. But are we going to be participants in God's will? Or is God's will going to be accomplished in spite of us? Sometimes God's good will is accomplished through ordinary folks just like you and me. For example, when a natural disaster occurs, it doesn’t mean sitting back and saying, "God will take care of them. It will all work out for good." But it may mean digging into the ‘ole wallet or purse and helping that good to happen, or volunteering time and energy to bring relief to those who suffer.
From our limited perspective, we can’t comprehend God’s Grand Plan, for God’s ways are not our ways. But one day we will, and all the big questions we ponder this side of heaven, particularly regarding “Why (fill in the blank)?” will be revealed.
In the meantime, let us try to do everything we can to live in line with God’s will and not sit “riding the pine” on the sidelines, but be agents in helping bring about the good that God promises in this broken and hurting world. That promise is our anchor in this troubling and confusing and often wacky world. That promise is our comfort, our hope, and our security. We need look no further.
Thanks be to God, day by day.