The Illusion of Control, The Unwavering Reality of God

I should almost be okay with it by now. I’ve had enough experience. I had surgery on my foot last Monday afternoon, for the fifth time on that foot. I was blessed with structural flaws that are to blame for it all.

I should be okay with it, and honestly I’m past the fear part now. The lack of control still gets to me.

Surgery is such a passive experience. You lie there and people do things to you. Part of the time you’re awake letting them do things to you, knowing that soon you’ll be unconscious letting them do things to you, and from that point on there’s not a thing you can do about it. You’re in someone else’s hands. Out of all control. Or rather, out of all illusion of control, for we’re not as much in charge as we think we are.

What Can You Trust?

Years ago, while living in Big Bear, California, my wife and went through a pair of major earthquakes. Aftershocks continued for weeks, including one that strong enough to knock a neighboring home off its foundation. If you can’t trust the ground you walk on, I wondered, what can you trust?

Or if you can’t trust your feet. Two and a half weeks ago I was under treatment, physical therapy, for pain in my right foot, which has the same flaw as the left one though not with such bad effect. I was walking up the driveway from the mailbox, and a bone snapped in my left foot. No apparent reason.

And here I am, in the first stages of a long recovery, praying both feet will be okay in a couple of months

Here I am, too, where my wife came in just seconds ago to inform me that the son-in-law of a friend of ours is in surgery right at this moment. Eight days ago he was in a car accident. He broke all four limbs, one of which is being amputated this afternoon. (I had no idea that was coming when I started writing this.)

You can’t go through surgery without thinking at least once that day, Some people die this way. You have to think about it. They won’t let you wear that fancy hospital gown until you put your signature on a paper that says so.

We think we’re in control, and we like to keep thinking so, but sometimes we’re reminded it’s not that way. If you can’t trust the ground you walk on, if you can’t even walk safely up your driveway on a nice day in a quiet neighborhood, if driving a car carries the risks we all know it carries, is anything safe anywhere?

The Obvious Can Still Be A Challenge

For those who know God through Jesus Christ, the answer is both obvious and a challenge at the same time.

For Jesus said plainly, “In this world you will have many troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) He proved His overcoming love and power, through the Cross and His Resurrection. If Jesus did that for us, then it’s obvious God can save, and God will save, if we allow Him — no matter what we go through, including our eventual deaths.

It’s obvious, yet it’s difficult, because experience is so dominated by feet and cars and earthquakes and hurricanes and wildfires and wars and all the visible, touchable, feel-able dangers and pains of life. They seem so real. They are so real. But they’re far from the only reality.

Atheists like to mock faith as believing what we know isn’t true. That’s wrong. Faith is believing what we know is true, when tangible experience tries to tell us it isn’t.

No Matter What Fails, He’s There For Us

Life seems under control for some of us, some of the time. But every honest person knows it isn’t. Life seems completely out of control sometimes for all of us, but every believing person knows it isn’t.

God, the loving Father, is always in control. Faith is remembering He’s there for us no matter what may fail around us.

My second and third surgeries came in quick succession, some time ago. I hadn’t been able to stand to worship in church in months. The day that opportunity finally came was also the first time I heard “Where Feet May Fail.” What an unforgettable moment!

They call it “Oceans” officially. They can call it that if they want.

This Shane and Shane version expresses my own mood of hope better than the original; for it is a song of hope for a life of hope, no matter what’s out of control, no matter what fails.

Image Credit(s): Alex Borland.

Tom Gilson

Vice President for Strategic Services, Ratio Christi Lead Blogger at Thinking Christian Editor, True Reason BreakPoint Columnist

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1 Response

  1. October 26, 2017

    […] This is part one of two blog posts on what I’ve learned through all this. This one is way off my usual topics for this blog. I’m writing it for anyone who might gain from practical lessons I’ve learned. (Part two is here now.) […]