Some of us have a nature that wants to be “in control.” Color me guilty.
I’m also the type of person who loves change, loves new experiences, loves growing—literally and metaphorically.
Control + “Change Is Good”: The two would seem to be at odds, right?
Control typically means eliminating exposure to change. Control is about minimizing all the intervening variables that upset our model of how X + Y will produce Z. Side Note: I learned that in 12 hours of graduate statistics classes. Further Side Note: It’s a good thing I love learning because God is always teaching me something new!
Learning is all about embracing change and growing through it.
Most of my life has been a series of lessons to help me understand that God’s ways are not my ways and God’s timing is not my timing.
“…so are my ways high above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
That truth, my friends, is a blessing that is far greater than any of us know or realize when we’re going through something that seems, well, crappy in the moment. I’m not using crappy in a throwaway sense. I’ve been in some dark moments, far out of my control. Situations dark enough that Sandra Bullock could win another Academy Award® if a movie of my life is ever made. God always delivered me through them and showed me who is really in control and why a life lived in faith in Christ is the key.
God: Teacher of the Year
As for the learning bit, well, God made me a sponge in that realm.
When I was a little girl, a Sunday School teacher or some such person, described Solomon as the wisest person who ever lived. That’s what I wanted to be: Wise. That is still my prayer, every day.
Later, I heard Benjamin Franklin described as the wisest American. That’s who I wanted to be.
In 7th Grade, I learned that Ben’s compatriot, Thomas Jefferson, was “the greatest mind to ever dine alone in the White House.” That’s what I wanted to be. So I decided, somewhere around age 14, that I would be the first woman president and, just perhaps, the wisest woman to ever live in the White House. LOL.
Somewhere in my late-20s, after gaining a tiny bit of maturity and wisdom, I “wised-up” and realized that, according to the norms of the American political system, I’d have to compromise way too much to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. See also: Student loans [AKA “doubting God’s ability to provide for my needs and overcome obstacles.]
Patience hasn’t been my strongest trait, especially during those more youthful years. Fortunately, God is not bound by time or resource constraints and in His infinite patience and mercy He taught me patience. God is a very good teacher; in fact, his Word is the the perfect teacher.
“For in your sight a thousand years are as the passing of one day….” Psalm 90:4
If the ancient Greeks were still writing plays, I might be the exemplar character who gets her layers of psyche exposed to explain the foibles of humans who seek to control the spinning wheels of “the Fates.”
Fortunately [pun intended], God designed each of us for one or more purposes that our uniqueness is required to serve and, perhaps, to fulfill. “The Fates” were written out of God’s script.
A Time To Sow
A few years ago, I started growing vegetables from actual seeds sown in dirt. I rediscovered the beautiful contribution of earthworms to our food supply. That wasn’t too long after I’d learned, more generally, about how complex systems are connected in myriad intricate ways that we humans know so little about.
God has used growing plants to teach me to let go of my desire to control, to be patient, and to trust His design of how “things” work together in His time and in His season.
I suspect that the verses found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 are among the most famous passages of the Bible, even if many do not know that these words are found in Ecclesiastes.
The passage begins with the broad statement of wisdom:
“For everything its season, and for every activity under heaven its time.”
The very wise Solomon then goes on to list a series of activities, and their counterparts, noting that each has its season in our lives.
“A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot;
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time for mourning and a time for dancing;
A time to scanner stones and a time to gather them;
A time to embrace and a time to abstain from embracing;
A time to seek and a time to lose;
A time to keep and a time to discard;
A time to tear and a time to mend;
A time for silence and a time for speech;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 2-8 [The Revised English Bible]
The beautiful thing is that God transcends all of these.
God is the I Am.
God is not bound by human time nor is God bound by the constraints of time.
God is not bound by the constraints of human circumstances of hate and war.
In God, time is not a variable to be controlled.
God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End.
Live your life in faith and knowledge that God’s seasons are the best seasons for you, wherever you are.
Read along with us for the next few weeks as we explore the gift in God’s Timing.
Can you remember a time when a trial ended up being a blessing in disguise? Share your story with Breath on Paper and encourage others who may be facing a trial of their own.
Sheree Martin is a lawyer, entrepreneur and digital media consultant. She’s on a mission to help others Discover, Grow and Shine. Sheree is mom to multiple furry creatures and aunt to three awesome young adults. She loves spending time outdoors, especially at Shine Springs Farm, doing anything fitness related, and cooking real food for friends and family. Click her to read Sheree’s Breath on Paper bio.