Don’t Worry, You Have No Control

From JT:

The Paradox of Important but Impossible Tasks in Ministry

“The most important things we want to do in ministry are the things we are absolutely powerless to do. And that ought to be the most freeing thing in your life.”

—Kevin DeYoung, speaking at NEXT (audio clip here).

HT: GirlTalk

Here’s the situation: Something is uncontrollable, you are given the opportunity to worry about it.

The typical response is “don’t worry about it, you can’t do anything about it.” This is unsatisfying, because regardless of your influence, you still care about the outcome. The worry (and thus bondage, to contrast with the quote) comes from concern, and unless that concern is eliminated, there will be cause for anxiety.

The true reliever of anxiety is found in the sovereignty of God, coupled with His promises of good for those who love Him. Apart from that, you ought to worry.

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Uncle Larry

Larry married Lisa (my mom’s sister) and they had Luke. Lisa and Luke are among my closer extended family members. Luke is a year or so older than I am, so we got lumped together in the older cousins. But that’s the background.

I think about Larry a lot. I don’t remember much about him, but I always want to hear the stories. Larry had a great career going for him in (I think) programming software, a loving family and a bright future. Then he started hearing things. The hallucinations began too and the doctors gave them the news: Larry had schizophrenia.

I respect Lisa so much for all she has made it through. The stories she tells make me sad. One that stands out is how Luke kept her sane when Larry started acting out. “That’s not my dad,” he would say, “that’s the disease.” How hard would it be to struggle between your husband and the broken world in his head? When your dad yells at you literally out of no where?

Larry was afraid of the danger he was to his family, so he filled for divorce (though they still loved each other). The pills would make it hard to think straight, so he would stop taking them, eventually turning to alcohol instead. I remember hearing often that Larry was in the hospital for internal bleeding or a blood clot or something. Eventually it got the better of him.

It’s been 8 years since he died. 8 years of Luke not having his dad around. 8 years of Lisa missing her husband.

I’m grateful for Larry. Though I never knew him well, he has made a mark. Mental disabilities and diseases are so hard for everyone involved. I have no idea how hard it really is, but I catch glimpses whenever I talk with Lisa and Luke about it. And the good stories are so heart warming, like how he’d play with Luke when he was younger.

It makes me yearn for days with no mourning, or crying or pain.

21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:1-4

His Ways Are Higher

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

My thoughts are sinful. My ways lead to error. My plans fail.

If God’s ways were not higher than mine, He would not be God.

Big Answers

God is good.

I’m buying a house! I think everything has been ironed out, all the papers are signed, the loan machine has started, I’m freaking excited! My hopes for this house are huge, I’m praying God works mightily. May it be used by God to bless believers and nonbelievers in the Phillips neighborhood. May God protect this house and those who live in it. May all who enter into this house meet with God. Oh man, I could go on, and I will in my prayers. Please join me in that.

Praying for this decision has resulted in some of the most intimate times with God in my life. I’ve been able to spending days in prayer over decisions, pray (with my realtor!) before we wrote up the offer and have so many of my friends pray for this whole ordeal too. And God is faithful. My greatest prayer was that through all the dealings and if I were to get the house, that His name would be honored. And on the tail end of the buying process, I can say that it has.

The other thing was very good. It didn’t go the way I had hoped, but looking back I’m glad it didn’t. God sanctified and blessed me through that experience, and I expect He will continue to do so.

Theology Changed My Life

I was at home today to celebrate my dad’s birthday. My mom wanted me to clean my room (even though I don’t live there), so I walked in and there were a bunch of Knowing God Personally booklets from my Campus Crusade for Christ days. My sister, who is currently involved with them on her campus, made a comment about them. I then told her that I had found a better way to share the Gospel; know it.

This really got me thinking. Throughout all college I never really had a confidence in explaining what the Gospel is. However, since I’ve started getting involved at BBC and really diving into theology, my understanding and appreciation of the Gospel has exploded! To think that the Son of God, God himself, would come, take a human body (Christmas anyone?), suffer and die a vicious, cruel death all for the sake of his people! That is good news indeed! By his sacrificial death, I can now approach the throne of the Almighty God with confidence, knowing that Jesus’ righteous life counts for my own and the wrath that all my many many many sins deserve was poured out on Christ on the cross. And that Jesus did this out of love, a love so intense that physical pain was no obstacle, that the constant resisting of temptation wasn’t too much to bear, and that his death was not too big a price to pay for my salvation. I heard the song “Jesus Paid It All” today on the radio. It was well timed.

All that just to say that theology has so enriched my relationship with God that I would commend really studying the Bible to everyone. The Gospel has come alive like it never has before. I love Jesus.