To all the planners out there, 2020 just hasn’t been your year! For most of us this year has been anything but predictable. If you are like me, unpredictability can be stress inducing.
Around 1993 or so, I heard a teaching at a University of Kentucky campus ministry, University Christian Fellowship. It was given by a really cute, future medical student, which may be why I remember it so well. I remember that he walked in the room a few minutes late, looking slightly disheveled. (Swoon!) He was carrying a large MCAT prep book. He walked to the table at the front of the room and dropped the book, which resulted in an echoing boom that made me just about jump out of my skin. He asked the question, “What is stress?” I assumed he was going to say that stress was studying for the MCAT. But he didn’t. He said “Stress is a lack of trust in God.” He talked about the importance of doing our best, but knowing that, ultimately, the future is in God’s hands and we need to put our trust in Him.
I have thought about those words many times. I have thought about them in the midst of difficult situations. I have thought about them when my well thought out plans and good ideas fell through. I have thought about them while waiting to see what was going to happen next, and I have thought about them when my hope for various situations was waining.
The fact is, life is not always easy. Sometimes we struggle. Sometimes we suffer. Sometimes we find out that things we really thought were meant to be, actually were not. Sometimes we feel like we have been given more than we can handle. And life is full of unknowns. I don’t know about you, but those are very difficult for me!
In those moments we can allow stress to rule us, or we can put our trust in God. One of my favorite quotes by Billy Graham is, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” It’s an interesting time right now because the whole world is trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. (“Since no one knows the future, who can tell some one what else is to come?” Ecclesiastes 8:7) The truth is, only God knows the future. And even more importantly, He is in control.
I have learned, over my many years of stressing out, that trusting God is a choice. We must willfully choose to stop worrying and to start trusting. It’s hard! It takes discipline and strength, and above all a deep relationship with God.
I am encouraging you, and I am reminding myself, to take all these worries and fears to the Lord. Talk to him! Be honest with Him. Stop trying to control everything and ask Him to show you what to do. He is faithful. He is a good Father, and He will always take care of His children who love Him. Even if things don’t go the way you thought they might, you can rest assured that His plans are always better than ours.
“Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
P.S. That cute college boy did just fine on the MCAT, got into medical school and married a girl who still swoons over him many years later.