Monday: 1 October, 2012 –– 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Job 1:2–22 / Luke 9:46–50
Control or Trust
We want to be in control of our lives. We live in a society that offers more control than any previous time in history. We can usually control the temperature of our surroundings. We have an incredibly broad selection of foods. We have greater control over physical maladies than ever before. We often control our days by choosing the activities which are most pleasing to us –– going to a movie or a sports event, staying home in the evening and choosing from the hundreds of cable stations available on our televisions.... We often seek to control our lives by manipulating the many choices we have over our circumstances.
But then something happens that reminds us we are not in control. An accident.... a threatening medical report –– a diagnosis that goes beyond the assurance of our medical technologies.... the betrayal of a person close to us.... a loss of job or a disastrous dive in the financial market.... We are not in control.
In an effort to regain control we often try to find something or someone to blame. Blame offers an explanation, and if we get the right explanation we can attempt to “fix it” (and thus regain control).
The modern mind doesn’t seem oriented to think about what God may be saying in our circumstances. Today’s story from Job is not saying that whenever anything goes wrong in our lives it’s because of direct activity by the devil. One thing this story does tell us, though, is that we live in a world that goes beyond WYSIWYG –– What You See Is What You Get. There is an unseen world beyond our senses, and God is always at work for our good. This is a huge part of understanding the whole story of Job.
The gospel can be read in this context. The disciples are arguing about who is the greatest. We are so easily impressed with prominence and strength –– those are the things that seem to offer control.
Jesus offers the example of a child as the ideal disciple. It is because a child is not in control. A child is dependent.
The best lesson we can learn as we seek to follow Jesus is to relinquish control. Another way to say that is: Trust God. That is easy to say. It is something else to go through the circumstances of our days not trying to manipulate them to our own preference and advantage.
Who or what are you trying to control? Can you hear Jesus telling you to give it up and trust God like a little child?