We spend so much time and effort achieving the illusion that we are in control; in control of our lives, our health, our children, our churches. And much of the time we actually convince ourselves, and others, that we are. This week has been for me a reminder that this is indeed a myth at best. It is the paralyzing snowstorm that freezes commuters and schools and shuts down the DMV on the only day you have to go and deal with the problem with your car title; it is the sudden illness that drives you into the ER in the middle of the night; it is the news that someone dear to you has been hospitalized after being injured in a hit and run; it is feeling immeasurably small as you stand at the edge of the Pacific.
We are, each of us, fragile, susceptible, and ultimately submissive to powers and forces we do not control. In the Black church, there is a common and beautifully simple prayer I hear repeated over and over again: “Thank you God for waking me up this morning.” I think this prayer captures the only posture we can rightly have in this life. Yet, surrounded by industries that peddle control, inundated by messages of what we can “deserve” and “choose”, we lose sight of this central truth of who we are: creatures and not gods.
Lord, teach me to live as one who truly believes that “there, but by the grace of God, go I.”