Susan was an A-type person, and she was having a hard time dealing with her mother’s battle with cancer. The reason why Susan was having such a hard time was because she was confronted with a situation that she couldn’t control, and she didn’t know how to handle it!
Even when she had heard that her mother was about to go on hospice, the first question she blurted out to the doctor was: “How much time does she have?” Now, don’t get me wrong, Susan loved her Mom and was extremely good to her. She had done all she could for her over the years, and especially during this time of illness. When her father died seven years ago Susan made herself even more available to her Mom. She even worked it out so that her Mom could stay in her own home rather than in a nursing facility when it was determined that her mother couldn’t be by herself.
But Susan’s compulsion to control everything ended up becoming a hindrance to her and was having a negative effect on her relationship with her younger brother and sister. Susan was always making a plan only to become more frustrated when circumstances would then disrupt in some way or other.
On a particularly chaotic day her younger brother said to Susan, “Will you stop with the micromanaging of everything for just five minutes! You’re even telling the doctors and nurses what their business is! And because you’re so worked up about everything, you are not paying attention to what people are trying to tell you. You go to church all the time, but it seems strange to me that you really don’t seem to be all that willing to trust anyone other than yourself. Do you even trust anyone other than yourself. Do you even trust God in all that’s happening to Mom and our family? The bottom line is this: we know that Mom is real sick, and that there’s nothing more that the doctors can do for her. But things are not going to play out the way you expect them. If you take a minute to step back and look at the bigger picture, you would see that that’s the way it’s been throughout this whole experience so far. And you just have to accept that and let go of things a little bit! Maybe there’s something here for all of us to learn. Mom seems way more at peace with what’s happening then you are. You are making everything about you and that’s not what this is about.”
There are two great quotes from the reading today. The first is: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” The other one is: “For he (Abraham) thought that the one who made the promise was trustworthy.”
So, what we have to keep in mind is that God will come to rescue us—we can rely on that—but we cannot know beforehand the particular ways that God will accomplish it. What we can rely on is that it will be different than what we expected. God’s hand is involved in ways that we are completely unaware of. Sometimes we just have to let go and let God do what he wants to do, confident that He knows what he is doing.
So, for someone like our friend Susan, it might be better to put the plan book away, especially in the situation she’s in with her family. Live one day at a time seeking the help that’s needed and learning that there are times when God is simply saying to us, “That’s not for you to know. Let me worry about that.”
Actually, when God tells us this, he’s doing us a favor. We need to learn to cooperate with God, and not fight the Lord all the time. Be ready to receive the Lord into your life, but do so on his terms, not yours.