The Grand Illusion

Okay, so I was going to title this “The Great Illusion,” but then I remembered the Styx song and couldn’t resist the temptation.  Dennis DeYoung points out that all of our neighbors actually don’t have it made, after all it’s just a grand illusion.

What I wanted to talk about is actually quite similar.  We think we have control over our lives, but we’re just fooling ourselves (I have to get off of this Styx theme).  As much as we may like to think that we maintain control, we need to come to the understanding that control is just an illusion.  Ultimately, it’s God who maintains control; He is sovereign.

Yeah, you’ve heard this before – and by the way, so have I.  But we all know that “knowing” something is not the same as “learning” something.  We often learn as we experience, and so you can probably figure out that I’ve been experiencing this truth.

My wife Lisa quit her job July 1st so one of us could give more attention to The Merge.  I’ve noticed that my mood has been greatly impacted – and not in a good way as I’m often feeling “on edge.”  And now I know why.  It’s because I’m no longer in control of our finances.  It’s an unsettling feeling not knowing how you’re going to pay your bills, buy groceries and put gasoline in your vehicle – a real unsettling feeling.  I want to know that I have things under control.  But, of course, that’s the grand illusion because I never had things under control!

Christians sing the old hymn I Surrender All, but of course, we often only mean it in concept only.  After all, not many of us are fans of surrendering our finances to God.  But what I’m learning is that while I don’t care about the money, I certainly care about the control it “appears” to provide.  Whether living with abundance or living in need, God is the one who can be counted on to provide.  Oh, by the way, we found a way to pay all of our bills last month!

One of my favorite theologians, Karl Barth, once said, “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”  So while God is teaching me that control is just an illusion, I’m also trying to allow Barth to remind me that I have to find joy in the process as well!


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