A number of years ago, I lived in Nevada where snow fell for the better part of the year. Many days, the roads were still covered in ice and snow, even with plows clearing them on a regular basis.
On days like that, I rarely went out. But on this one particular day, I had no choice so I piled my four kids in our old Bronco, set my four-wheel drive, and ventured out despite my longing to avoid the trip into town.
We lived outside Reno, in a little valley at the foot of the Sierras so whenever it snowed, the storm would swirl around in our valley as if it were trapped by the surrounding mountains and hills.
Getting out was hard enough, but going down the slippery hill, onto the highway, and into town proved challenging at best. Especially when the snow blew in blizzard, white-out conditions.
As it did on this particular day. (Did I mention I would have rather been at home with a cup of tea and a good book?)
Whenever we made the twenty to thirty minute journey into town (depending on what part of Reno we needed to arrive at), it seemed like a longish drive. But on snowy days, the are-we-there-yet question played every few minutes in what felt like a never-ending trek of epic proportions.
We made it down the hill, onto the highway, and the road was remarkably clear of traffic. (Those smart other people!) But it was not clear of snow and ice.
I drove clutching the steering wheel while reassuring my youngsters that all was good. “You all have your seat belts on, right? Mommy’s just double-checking.”
That’s when I glimpsed a flash of red up ahead of me through the blinding snow. The brake lights of a slowing, or stopped(?) car. I tapped my brakes lightly, but in an instant, the car spun out of control.
Kind of in slow motion.
But within a few seconds we were headed the wrong way on the highway.
I’m thrilled to say that we didn’t crash. Simply landed with a bump and poof of snow in the center divider. While we were shaken up, I was able to carefully navigate us into the right direction and off the highway. Thank you, Jesus! (I say that a lot.) I decided to take the longer, street route the remainder of the way into town. Yeah.
Here’s the thing.
For those few minutes, the scariest part was feeling like I was completely out of control. My car was turning and sliding and no amount of driving-in-snow protocol helped.
I was helpless, powerless, and sensed danger all around.
I think that’s how most of the world feels these days. Between the virus, job losses, the election, violence in our streets, and even friends and family turning against us on social media, we can spin out of control and land facing the wrong direction.
Isn’t that what we fear most? Being out of control?
Don’t we want to know what’s happening all the time and have a handle on it? Our family, our job, our finances, our spouse, kids, friends, and the outcome of this election?
But what if we don’t? What do we do then? How do we handle life when we feel like we’ve lost control?
It’s been a slow road, but I’m learning to trust the God that IS in control. He sees all, has already been where we’re going, and knows what’s up ahead. I may not know, but if he does and I trust him then no matter what happens, I can be at rest.
Even when I’m out of control.
What if God knows everything about this virus, the election, the violence, and what my spouse, kids or friends feel and think? What if he’s using every single good and bad thing to bring something good, or better for us or someone else? What if we trusted that what we can see is only part of the bigger picture and plan?
I could tell a multitude of stories of all the times I questioned what was happening from injury, sickness, death to job loss, financial struggles and misunderstandings with family or friends. I have plenty of material.
I know this from my sixty years of life. God is good. He is faithful. I can trust him with everything and when I do, my heart is at peace even in the midst of messy spin-outs. It took practice to learn, and I’m still in process, but I know my God, and he loves us.
Getting to know him is the first step. Getting to know him intimately (nothing weird, just up close and personal), is the next. First we try talking to him and trusting him with something, and then we can trust him with the next thing and the next. Anyone who would give their child so that we could be close to him must love us an awfully lot.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” I John 4:9
“We love because he first loved us.” I John 4:19
Today, when you feel out of control, maybe try talking to the God who loves you and is in control. You may find a new sense of peace to give up your control and leave everything in his very capable hands.
I have. I hope you can too.