I’ve been confronted with a harsh reality. More harsh than things most of us want to realize or admit to, yet there was really no getting around it. The harsh reality for me is that I am not in control of the world. A big surprise, I know. But this is one area that I’ve somehow felt I oversaw. And it’s true for me just as much as it is for you. Each of us like to believe that we are in control of certain parts of the world, whether we see it or not. And yet the truth of the matter is that we are not in control of the world—not in control of the earth’s shaking (as experienced last week with a little jolt here in southern California), not in control of a family member’s cancer tests from last week, nor in control of anything else that I feel I somehow govern or oversee (finances, family members, kids, government, the neighbor’s barking dog, etc.).
Ironically, I feel somehow more in control when certain things are the way I want them, when the ducks are in the row I want them to be in. Yet, I’m seeing that this is merely a feeling of control. Ducks, like planets, align only temporarily. Being a type-A person, this can drive me crazy! But, it’s teaching me what is really important. Yes, there is a need for hard work; yes, there is a need for being a good citizen and family man or family woman. But, when it comes down to it, the writer of Ecclesiastes, really saw something I know I find too simple to be true for me today:
“After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now” (5:18-20, The Message).
May each of us take up the challenge to allow our ducks to stray as they please and for us to ask God what He wants from us in it, “accepting what’s given and delighting” in that work, rather than how we might wish it to be. May each of us not worry over things we need not worry about and find God’s gift in each present moment.