We are so thankful for Michael. What a wonderful man God has given to our daughter as a husband. As we spoke with him today I was reminded again that he is a humble, enjoyable, interesting, kind, admirable and noble man. Oddly though, our conversation was a reminder to me of the reality that there is something wrong with the human race. We have sent this man, one of the best our nation has to offer, thousands of miles from home to fight a war. My father was sent as a young man just out of high school to go far from his home to fight in World War II. When I was in college I had friends who were sent to Viet Nam to fight in a war. And now my son-in-law, whom I love dearly, is in a strange foreign land also fighting a war. There have been wars throughout my entire life. It is like war is the natural state of human beings. We cannot seem to stop fighting and killing. In Romans 3:17 Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah to describe humanity when he wrote, “the way of peace they do not know.” The intransigence of this trait of our species after all these millennia surely tells us how desperate is our need for the work of God to transform our hearts.
One effect our conversation today had was to cause me to reflect on that unpleasant reality. It is a reality that is far more pervasive in life than I like to think. Most of life is out of our control. I did not control how tall I am, how good my eyesight is, how good my singing voice is or whether my hair would recede to near non-existence. I do not totally control all aspects of my health. I do not control all that happens to my wife or my children. I do not control whether people come to my church. In some of these things I have influence, but the results and outcomes are ultimately out of my control. I do not control whether an earthquake hits our area or whether our economy totally melts down. In the end we all must learn how to live with most of life out of control.
In light of that I realize I have only a few possible alternatives as responses. I can become a basket case, living in total fear because there is so much that I cannot protect myself or my loved ones from. I could become a control freak, living with the hopeless illusion that somehow I can force other people and the world around me to bend to my desires. Neither of those two alternatives can ever bring peace to my soul and they will almost certainly make me a curse to everyone around me. I could choose to become fatalistic, sort of giving up hope of life ever being what I long for it to be and waiting for the next disaster to hit. That also seems like a pretty gloomy way to live. The best alternative I have is to trust God. In the end, that is my only hope for freedom and peace. I have to pry my own fingers free of the death grip they tend to grasp on some circumstance I desire and hand that thing to God to do with as he will. That truly is the only source of peace, for the God that I hand that deeply desired thing to is my heavenly Father, who loved me so much he went to the unfathomable extreme of the cross for me.