spring of 1980, a series of earthquakes and small eruptions drew the attention
of people living in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists and sightseers were drawn
to Mount St. Helens. Steam vents, tremors and hot spots appeared almost
Then on May 18, a 5.1-magitude earthquake shook the mountain. For
a few seconds the north flank seemed to ripple, then broke loose and began
sliding downhill as a massive avalanche. Eruption plumes shot up as quickly as
600 miles an hour. The blast traveled as a hot, churning mass of gas, rock, ash
and ice. More than 50 people were killed or reported missing after the blast,
and the eruption devastated 235 square miles.
The eruption of Mount St.
Helens was a tragedy. It’s also a powerful reminder that there are forces in
this world over which we have no control. Even when the best scientific minds
and equipment were keeping watch over the mountain, they could not predict what
was going to happen next.
It’s the same way in our lives. Despite our
best efforts and knowledge and abilities, there are some events and
circumstances over which we have no control. We can’t control the stock market,
which dictates how well our money might perform. We can’t control another
person’s thoughts and feelings, which dictate how strong our relationships might
be. And even if we eat right and exercise regularly, we can’t completely control
our health. Accidents, disease and illness still happen.
When we act as
though we CAN control events, circumstances and people, we make a huge mistake.
Control is another form of selfishness. Trying to control shows that we’ve
replaced our trust in God with faith in ourselves. But that kind of faith always
results in failure.
Let’s look at the struggle for control another
Have you ever spent time with 2-year-olds? Some of their favorite
phrases are “mine,” “no” and “I do it.” They want to be independent. They think
they know what they’re doing. They have faith in their developing skills,
abilities and judgment. Sometimes that streak of independence is frustrating to
parents who have to wait as the child struggles to climb in and out of a car
seat by himself. Sometimes it is dangerous. No matter how smart or capable a
2-year-old is, he should not play with the stove or try to cross the street by
But children persist in testing the limits of their
independence. For instance, there’s the little one who uses the kitchen drawers
as a ladder to climb up to the counter. Like a kitten caught up in a tree, he
gets stuck in a situation he’s not equipped to handle. And only then does he
start to worry about how he’ll get down. Then comes the cry for help.
often are we like that with God? Have you ever wanted to “do it yourself” rather
than wait for Him? What happened?
I think all of us are tempted to rely
on our own brains and brawn. But when we put our faith in ourselves, we lose
sight of God’s love and care. We’re like that 2-year-old climbing onto the
kitchen counter. Once we get stuck, we get scared, as the psalmist did: “In my
distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help” (Ps. 18:6,
Thankfully, we have the consolation of knowing that a power greater
than ourselves can restore us—and will. “From His temple He heard my voice; My
cry came before him, into His ears. He brought me out into a spacious place; He
rescued me because He delighted in me” (vv. 6,19).
God wants to keep us
safe. He doesn’t do it out of a sense of obligation. He does it because He loves
us. He delights in caring for us.
We have to trust God and let Him guide
us, as the Scriptures command: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and
lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He
will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6). We have to hand Him our
independence and our desire for control. We have to let Him take the reins of
our lives in His hands.
Trust is not always easy. We’ve grown to like the
beliefs and values of the world, even if we’re filled with worry. We’re in the
habit of trusting ourselves, not God. We’re comfortable with the lifestyle of
work and worry that we’ve developed. But we must let go of worldly attitudes so
we can firmly grasp God’s hand. Then we can let Him lead us. We can stop trying
to be in charge, give Him control of our lives and walk in trust and
Adapted from “Rx for Worry: A Thankful Heart” by James P.
Gills, M.D., copyright 2002. Published by Creation House Press. Are you consumed
with worry about various aspects of your life? There is a cure! Read Dr. Gills’
book to learn how to apply it to your situation. To order a copy click on this link.