Sorry- no video today.
I have spent the majority of my working life in charge of people. Sometimes it was only a handful of people, like when I had 7 people working for me processing securities for a major New York City bank. We were responsible for making sure some $60 Billion every day went where it was supposed to go. When I was in the Marine Corps I was a Company Executive Officer, and at that time I was responsible for 365 men and millions of dollars of equipment. And over the years, I have had management positions in and out of sales and banking. I finished my last 10 years or so in IT and I was happily not in charge of anyone.
What does this have to do with today’s message? It is the important lesson I learned while managing others: even when you are in charge and in control of what happens, sometimes you have to give up control so that others can learn how to be in control.
I once asked God to remove any lustful thoughts from my mind. Now wait a minute! I wasn’t some sleazeball leering at every girl that walked by; really, I wasn’t. I was trying to not look at all- you know, do what Job said he did (Job 31:1.) And after praying for God to excise this part of my brain, the answer came to me as a small voice in the back of my head.
The answer was, “It doesn’t work that way.”
Huh? I am praying for something that is a righteous prayer, something that will help to make me holier and I am praying in the name of Yeshua ha Maschiach- I have filled in all the blanks, answered all the questions and even should get extra credit for using the Hebrew name! Why won’t you just do it?
Again, an answer came: “Because if I do it for you, you won’t learn how to accomplish the hard things you need to do.”
God is in control of everything, but in this case, as with my own work experience, he ceded control to me. He left control up to me so that I could learn a valuable lesson- how to exercise and strengthen my self-control by listening to and obeying the Ruach Ha Kodesh.
There have been many people who reject God because of some trauma in their lives. They cannot reconcile that a loving, compassionate God would allow such bad things to happen to them. They do not understand that God’s love is not like human love. Most of the time human love is more destructive than helpful. We dote upon each other, we overly protect our children from emotional and physical pain. When parents do not teach their children the hard lessons of life they are not preparing them to survive in a fallen and cursed world. This is why there is such a feeling of victimization in the younger generations: “It’s not my fault”, “Society caused this”, or “My parents made me this way.” No accountability, no responsibility. And why is this? Because they were not given control of themselves and , more importantly, they were not held accountable for what they did or said.
God will cede control of events and action to humans so that we can learn for ourselves how to be in control. You cannot teach someone how to lead if you never put them in a position of leadership. And the hardest part of this is allowing them to screw it up. Even when you know what they are about to do will not work, you still have to let them make the mistake because that is really the only way humans learn. It is exceptionally rare when someone is wise enough and has enough emotional maturity to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
Suffering and emotional hurt is something we all will experience during our lifetime. I don’t believe we ever get over really painful events, but we can get past them. To do that we need to have inner strength, and that only comes from regularly being exposed to life. It’s like when you want to have bigger muscles so you lift weights and do so to the point where you actually destroy (traumatize) the muscle. As it recovers, it adds more of itself so that it is able to handle more stress in the future. That is why people who constantly use their muscles have big ones.
God is absolutely in charge of and capable of controlling everything that happens…but he allows us to be in control of things so we can grow, spiritually and emotionally, into strong leaders and self-controlled saints of the Most High.
Don’t immediately blame God for bad things that happen in your life; if what happens is a wonderful blessing, then you can give credit to God and you should thank him. The world will not bless you so when the bad stuff happens, well….just look at it as a learning experience and grow from it. Look to and call upon the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) to give you strength and guidance to get by.
One last point: a good manager will allow his or her people to get themselves into trouble as a learning experience, but not so much trouble that they cannot be pulled out of it. Trust in God to know best how much control he will cede to you; he will test you through fire so that the dross will be burned away, and even though you may think the fire is too hot you can always call on God for help.
Just like in Matthew 14:28-31, when Yeshua was walking on the water:
Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
God will show us what we are to do, let us try it and if (and when) we start to sink, he will rescue us. He will give control over to us so we can learn to be stronger and holier.
That’s what good parenting is all about.