Friday, July 15, 2011
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My kids always loved that amusement park ride where they get to drive those little race cars around this track. I guess I should put the word "drive" in quotes. Oh yeah, kids grab that steering wheel and they do their NASCAR thing as the car speeds around that track at this eye-blurring three or four miles an hour or something. I could hardly blink. But driving, well that's a bit of an overstatement. See, that car is attached to a little rail, and it's going to go where it's going to go, no matter how what little Miss or Mr. NASCAR does at the wheel. We won't tell them, but they're not really in control at all.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Not In Charge After All."
We're so much like those kids in that little race car. We think we're in control of things, until something comes along that shows us big-time that we're not in charge at all.
Look at the recent tsunami tragedy in Japan. From technology to transportation to trade, Japan has demonstrated amazing resourcefulness and industry. But none of that could keep the ground from erupting violently...or a tsunami from erasing part of a nation...and even as they struggle to put the genie back in the broken nuclear bottle.
And maybe that's part of what's making us just a little queasy. We have been eyewitnesses to a stunning convergence of forces that man cannot control. And I think we will see some more. In this case, Japan was the third most powerful economy in the world - America, the most powerful. But that cannot insulate us from the life-altering waves that are beyond our control.
And that makes, or it ought to make us, think about questions that we normally ignore when we're on our daily gerbil wheel. Questions about what really matters, about how we should live the rest of our lives, about what needs changing, about what God is trying to tell us.
We are self-reliant, often self-absorbed, people until God sends or allows crises in our lives that shake our world. History's iconic suffering man, Job, said: "So that all men He has made may know His work, He stops every man from his labor" (Job 37:7).
In Deuteronomy 8:11, our word for today from the Word of God, the Lord says to His chosen people, the ancient Israelites: "When you have eaten and are satisfied...be careful that you do not forget the Lord." Oh, but we do. He goes on to say, "You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God..." (Deuteronomy 8:18). And actually sometimes we don't remember until in the Bible's words, "...the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down" (Deuteronomy 28:52).
I know when God arrests my relentless forward momentum, gets my attention and gets the steering wheel back. It's when there's suddenly something I can't fix, or I can't control, or I can't change: a child, or a marriage melting down, a financial or interpersonal tsunami, news from the doctor that rocks our world. That's when I seek Him. That's when I realize how very much I need Him.
I'm convinced that God uses our out-of-control times to get our attention, to show us that any control we think we have in our life is the illusion of control. We live as He gives us breath and we die on His timetable. As the Bible says, "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
The destiny of every human is defined in six words in the Bible, "...all things were created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). But we marginalize Him, we drift from Him, we're away from Him until things spin way out of our control. That's when people and even nations open their hearts to the only real Source of hope and healing and answers - the God who knows all too well about our suffering, our pain. He watched His Son die a brutal death on a cross so we could run to Him instead of from Him; so He could envelope us in His love, which He would love to do today for you.
If you've never given yourself to Him, tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours." Times like these are wakeup calls, and we ought to pick up the phone. It might be God on the other end reminding us that He's God and we're not.