“And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb? And, looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back…”- Mark 16:3-4
The disciples and other followers of Jesus were grieving with a deep, stinging kind of grief. Jesus- the One who they had dropped everything for to be with- was gone. Nevermind that He had told them time and time again that this would happen. Forget the fact that He had assured them He would be raised from the dead. It is one thing to be told something and a whole new thing altogether to live the details of it.
Two of the Marys (has anyone else ever thought about the fact that there are practically a bijillion Marys in the Bible?!) went to the tomb in order to anoint the body of Jesus that they assumed was still there; despite everything Jesus had already said. He was fully God, fully man. He had healed those who, with yet a sliver of faith, had simply touched the fridge of His garment in order to be made well. They had seen this with their very own eyes! Yet, here they were, stuck in the trenches of one single question:
Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?
It’s easy for us, the ones who have the rest of the story laid out on the pages of His Word, to think to ourselves, “Are you kidding me? He told you time and time again that this was the plan. You saw all the miracles He performed. His entire purpose on earth revolved around this one point; and you are still not getting it?!”
Yet- take a step back.
Do we not do this, too?
“How are we going to afford this with Hugh being in residency? How can I carry twins, much less raise them?” (page 6, On Milk and Honey)
This is God’s plan. The details are His; and He has written them with all wisdom, not a single moment lacking heavenly purpose. We say we believe this, and we tend to be fine with it until suddenly, our earthly numbers are just not adding up. We see 1 plus 1, and the results are saying 3, but we know better. We are all too aware that we are going to have to make the answer 2, because that’s how it has always been and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Is anyone feeling me here?
Friends, the rock is not ours to roll away. God knew what He was doing; and we do not have to take on any responsibility for those things that only He can touch. Being surrendered to His plan means opening our clenched fists up and saying, ‘Amen’ to what He is doing; not frantically attempting to be God in the story He is writing in our lives. As we read Psalm 139 last week, I hope you did not miss the beautiful truth that He had seen all of your days before one of them came to pass. As you were being knit together in your mother’s womb, He already had the whole thing rigged according to His perfect will.
This is not to say that we just frolic around in fields and let what will be, be. We are called to seek Him in all things; yet the results of this are His.
We ask, He gives.
We obey, He performs.
Only He knows best.
Let me say that again.
Only God, the Sovereign Ruler over all things, truly knows best for each of our lives.
Do you believe this?
Not in a Sunday School answer kind of way.
Do you believe this when 1 plus 1 is adding up to 3 and you can’t quite see what His invisible hands are doing?
Do you believe this when the details are looking monstrously different than you expected and even those who love you most are kind of shocked at what He is up to?
Do you believe this when your heartfelt prayers are answered in the exact opposite way that you would have wanted?
You see, we say we believe a lot of things; yet, we can know what we really believe in our heart of hearts by our reaction to the things we just can’t fathom in our flesh.
We tend to reach out for the reigns whenever we feel like things are out of control. God, in all His patient love for His children, never lets go of these reigns, regardless of our reaction to what He is doing. And friends, if the road is bumpy, it is much more freeing to cling to the One that is controlling our ride rather than attempting to grab the wheel that only He knows how to steer.
So, my question to you this week is this: where are you not believing that He is in control? How are you futilely attempting to micro-manage- even change- His plans for you?
It may seem like a small thing, but peace and joy come from holding on to Him, and not from gaining pseudo-control. We did not write the blueprints of our own lives, and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we will be free.
Here are my challenges for you this week:
Personal growth: The personal growth challenge for the week only comes with one option, and it is very simple. I want you to say this prayer before you get out of bed every day. Print it off or write it down so that it is seen first thing.
God- I come to you this morning knowing all too well my own tendencies to attempt to control the details of my life. I know your Word says that You are sovereign and that Your plans for us are good, yet in my flesh, I doubt this. Specifically today, I already know that I am going to be tempted doubt the goodness of Your control concerning ____________________. God, forgive me for trying to grab the reigns. Revive my heart and remind me that You know exactly what you are doing in all things. Help me to fix my eyes on You and You alone instead of obsessing over the intricate details that only You know best in. Lord, I love you and I need Your help in order to express that love for you more. Help me to live out the plans You have written for me in such a way that those around me see You in this life You have blessed me with. These things can only be prayed in Jesus’ precious, holy name. Amen.
Communal Growth: The community growth challenge this week is similar to last week’s. This week, I want you to reach out to those (either the people going through the book with you or someone else) to talk about the areas of your life that you have a hard time trusting God to control. The only requirement is that you are honest and open to whoever and whatever you feel like God wants you to say.
Pay it forward: The pay it forward challenge this week is to pass on the prayer above to someone you think needs it. Whether this is a close friend or family member or a stranger, simply let them know you feel like God needs them to see and hear those words.
Next week, we are going to talk about some themes from Chapters 3 and 4. This week’s challenge winner is SHANNON JOHNSON! Shannon, send me your address and a prayer journal is headed your way.
The Lord is good in all things and He is in control. May we grasp this more deeply this week as we seek His face and not our own wants. May we open our clenched fists yet a little more in order to experience the freedom that only He can bring. God has got this, friend. May we seek His glory and His glory alone.