The theme of this two-part series is emphasized in the book of Ecclesiastes. Click here to read an online version.
We live in a society that has become overly reliant on convenience and expediency, casting us all into an abundant state of stress and anxiety. For many, it has become harder and harder to break out of fight-or-flight mode and reestablish life balance. Some of us are caught in harmful physical, emotional, and mental patterns that have greatly affected the way we respond to the world around us. Yet, what about our spiritual lives? Have our worldly engagements affected the way we respond to God?
If you had to count how many times in your life you have attempted to take the driver’s seat and control your life’s journey, what would that number be? What about in the last year? …the last month? …the last week? …or the last hour? And out of those times, how many circumstances went exactly as you had hoped and planned for them to? Fortunately, we are not in as much control as we think (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14).
Sometimes it takes hindsight to recognize the myriads of ways that God organizes our life’s map. It’s always fascinating that no matter how much “off-roading” we do, He still is gracious enough to work with us (and for us) to recalibrate our spirit to align with His. In other words, our off-road adventures are still used for our good, no matter how painful and destructive they may be sometimes. What a merciful God we have!
Maybe you’re like me and have found that it was the spontaneous “passenger-seat” moments that set you on a trajectory that, although unexpected, was mysteriously enriching and exciting—a path that you could have never set in motion on your own, a path that you knew deep down was divinely inspired.
Being a passenger means you surrender control. You’re here for the ride, wherever it may take you. Personal responsibility is not negated (Ecclesiastes 12:14), but success does hinge upon the proper foundation. In this case, it means trusting God’s plan for you and not relying on the world’s definition of success.
Sit with this for a moment: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life (John 8:12). [emphasis mine]
Are you living your life in conscious contact with Christ? If not, the road before you is bound to get rough. Similarly, if you are, the road before you may still be rough at times. Jesus says the sun shines and rain falls on the just and unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). Ecclesiastes boasts of many similar parallels. Yet, there is a purpose to our being on earth; nothing we do is meaningless when we work for the Lord. We were created to glorify God, not to pacify ourselves (Colossians 3:17, 23; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 11:36).
Does this mean that life in submission to God will be easy? Not at all. We are never promised an easy life. God designed our hearts with eternity in mind (Ecclesiastes 3:11), making sense of why we never feel fully satisfied in this life. Our souls have been crying out for more ever since we made our grand debut into this world. True joy and contentment will never be found through the “things” and events that life has to offer. We get glimpses of God’s beauty and grace along the way, but the source of life is God himself. He has a master plan that will not be thwarted no matter how we choose to live our life (Ecclesiastes 3, 6:10). But that’s just it: we have a choice. Just don’t’ forget that every choice has a consequence (favorable or unfavorable). We can either let God take the driver’s seat while we enjoy the journey he has mapped out for us, or we can attempt to take the wheel all on our own.
What is something you are currently attempting to control? Will you give yourself permission to become a passenger today?
My prayer for you this week:
Remember the Lord
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.