Tears streaked down my face as I sat cross-legged on my couch and at attention to the Lord. Please, God, just take control. I don’t want control anymore, I prayed. That’s what I wrote in my prayer journal as I sat at a crossroads with the next step I should take. I remembered all the conversations I had had with God to make his plan for me abundantly clear. At this moment, I was sure he was shouting at me. Not in the way you would when team USA is lagging behind in speed skating because they keep making mistake after mistake. Come on! Can’t you see him! He’s right there! He was more so screaming it the way your coach would if you made a devastating fall in the short performance. Come one! Get back up! You can do this! This is what you have trained for! Just jump right back into the routine!
It was in that moment that I resigned control over to God to do what he must to bring me back to where I needed to be. And it would be the very next day that I would be met with a crushing blow of reality – that in my gradual shifting away from God, I had traveled a million miles away from Him.
Because that’s generally how it works. While some people make the dramatic flight from God, most people stumble and crumble to their lowest because they made a series of baby steps away from the smooth path he lays for us.
For a brief point in my life, I began to surround myself with not the best people. Actually, I had welcomed a wolf garnished in sheep’s wool into my life. The disguise was convincing. That much I’ll admit. So I let the beast stay longer than I should have, even after I started to see the menacing fangs and hungry eyes beneath a sweet grandmother’s cap. Like Little Red Riding Hood, I saw the big hungry eyes behind the wire frame glasses and the menacing fangs that dripped drool in anticipation for the kill.
Briefly, I accompanied the wolf thinking it was just a sheep on the edge. Nothing much to worry about. But with each passing day, I only became more critical, more pompous, more like the wolf with whom I kept company. I was hateful. I was judgmental. I thought of myself as more than my brothers and sisters. I do little out of love and most things out of selfish ambition.
Thankfully, the Good Shepherd saw what I couldn’t. He saw what I didn’t until the wolf had run off and a trail of wool was left in its wake.
Sadly, I still see remnants of how the wolf effected who I am, how I see people, and how I see the world. It is in the moments when my pride starts to rear it’s ugly, pompous head or that I say something so biting and bitter that I realize how many baby steps I took away from God and how they eventually amounted to thousands of miles.
When I first surrendered my future to God, I felt like a rug had been ripped out from underneath me. For that moment, it seemed like God was the incompetent magician who whips a table cloth out from under a fully set table only to fling every piece of precious China and polished silver to the ground leaving what was once beautiful and precious scattered on the floor. This wasn’t what I asked for, God, I thought.
But God is anything but incompetent.
And nothing He does is a simple illusion.
Though the state of my faith and my focus on God was the China and silver atop the fancy table cloth, the problem with my perspective was that everything wasn’t as beautifully set as I thought it was. In fact, it would have been better for Him to decimate everything on its surface than to mask the chips in the China and the scratches on the silver and pretend like the tablecloth hadn’t been tarnished by my own arrogance, my own pride in my plan, the plan I was certain had to be God’s, too.
But the moments where we are miles away from God are the moments we accuse Him of leaving us and leaving us for dead.
God wasn’t destroying order. What I thought was order ended up being chaos, and when I thought he had only created chaos, He was actually restoring order. He was clearing the table so he could make my heart orderly and full of love again.