Love vs. Control

I am a spiritual person. I believe in one God, believe in his one Son, and believe in the one Book that talks all about it. I believe in the Holy Spirit, that it interacts with us and does more than any of us could ever imagine. To me, it’s obvious. Now I understand that’s unique - even most people who believe in it wouldn’t label it ‘obvious’ - and I consider myself very lucky because of that. Something tells me God realized he either needed to make it obvious to me or I would never believe it. So he gave me the parents I have, and the sister I have, and the friends I have, and decided to make it obvious. He handed me his love on a silver platter.

And I know God is not obvious. Although, that’s kind of the point. But that’s not the point. The point is this isn’t me trying to convince you of anything. Trust me, I know what that’s like, and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But I am going to talk about how I am who I am because of it. Because, well, it’s my blog, and I can.

So far I have lived 21 years of a life devoid of reasons to be mad at a Higher Power, with the assumption being there is one. Were the assumption to be that everything was random, I would consider myself very, very lucky. Like, emotional-lottery lucky. But, given that I do indeed believe in God, it is very easy for me to feel loved and taken care of by him.

That also leaves a level of hurt that is incomprehensible to me. And I mean that in the sense that, for example, I don’t know what it feels like to not be loved and taken care of by a parent. I don’t know what a broken home feels like. I don’t know what it feels like to be close to death: family member or close friend. To have someone close to me have to struggle through a disease or disability. I don’t personally know people who were lost on 9-11, or in Hurricane Katrina, or who are fighting in Iraq right now. Those things are extremely sad, and bring a lot of hurt, and leave scars. And I don’t know what it’s like to live with those scars. I can’t even begin to grasp the anger that is felt in the aftermath of things like that. And had these things been present in my life, who knows where I would be or what I would think. I can say that I have a pretty good idea of how I would react to something like that happening to me today, that I feel like I know how I would get myself through it. But I don’t, not really. I have no idea.

It’s very difficult to find God’s love among those things, and I would imagine it’s very difficult to keep a strong grasp on faith during those times. And I don’t think the point is to not get sad. Or not get angry. Or not feel helpless and not understand why what happened had to happen. I think the point is to know that we’re not meant to understand. That suffering is a part of life, and that while God has the power to make it perfect, He never promised us perfect, in the same way that we could never promise him to be perfect. And I don’t know why it happens to some and not to others. What I do trust is that God would never put anyone through something they couldn’t handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Which sometimes makes me feel like God knew I wouldn’t have had the strength to persevere through something like that in earlier stages of my life. But the alternative to feeling bitter and angry is to feel strengthened, which I’m by no means suggesting would be easy, but it is nonetheless true. I also know that God gives us trials and gives us suffering so that our faith can be proven genuine, not only to Him, but I think even more so to ourselves (1 Peter 1:7). It is hard to confidently stand firm in faith that goes untested.

Above all, I think that man’s greatest weakness is surrendering control. It’s actually really interesting - It’s like God gave us freedom to give us the illusion of control just so that we would hopefully someday understand that we have no control and need to live through faith and love. Almost seems like the only way we could realize it is by going through that very process. Sometimes I think mankind is just God’s reality TV show, and he created heaven just so he can make fun of us for it later.

But tragedy is a way to be reminded that we’re not in control. It’s a reminder that this life isn’t everything, that really it’s barely anything, that we shouldn’t store up our treasures for this world but for heaven (Matthew 6:19), and that faith is worth more than gold (1 Peter 1:7). And it sucks, but I can totally see why it’s necessary. Because we, as human beings, at our core are weak, and greedy, and selfish, and stupid. And we want to be in control. But we can’t be.

The best way I know to surrender control is to love. Love and control have a fascinating relationship. You can’t control what you love. Or who you love. You rarely have control when you are in love. Most people would gladly surrender control for the certainty of being loved, in the same way that most people willingly surrender their control to protect what they do love. Most people who insist on being in control are afraid of letting themselves be loved, or afraid of loving, because both can end in hurt. And because it’s random. It’s unpredictable. And that can be terrifying. And a relationship with God is the same way. He loves me and therefore has chosen not to control me. And I believe that in order to have the slightest understanding of how much He loves me, I need to surrender my control. Surrender my control and try to love people the way I feel like He loves me. And that makes things random, and unpredictable, and is sometimes terrifying. The difference that comes with a relationship with God however is that his love is perfect. It's unconditional. So most of the time it’s refreshing and liberating and, amazing.

Want to know what terrifies me? That someday I won’t think it’s obvious. That something will happen in my life that will rock the whole boat. That one day I’ll look back on this post and say, ‘wow, what a naive little boy’. Which could be what some of you are thinking to yourselves as you read it. I hope not. But if that is you, I hope you have the courage to give it a little bit of thought. Because I’m nowhere close to having even a fraction of it figured out. Trust me, I don’t think I have answers, I don’t have proof, and I’m very far from perfect. But what I do have is faith that I’m unconditionally loved, through any trial or suffering. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.