Have you ever been annoyed by someone who always seemed to get their way? The kid in school who all the teachers favored? The friend growing up who always got everything they wanted from their parents? The co-worker who can do no wrong in the eyes of their employer? The neighbor down the street who seems to have every circumstance of life play right into their hands?
These things eat at us. We’ve all felt this way because somewhere, deep down, we believe that these people don’t deserve what they’re getting. We’ve seen a different side of them – a side that the teachers, parents, and employers haven’t. And if we’re brutally honest with ourselves, we know that we don’t deserve to get our way either. We may spend our time daydreaming about what things would be like if we had power over our circumstances and control over every situation, but none of us actually believe that we’ve earned that place of authority.
But what if there actually was someone who deserved to get their way in everything? Someone whose perfections, if added up, could never be counted. Life would leave your body and oceans would dry up and stars would stop burning before you finished naming them off. And what if that person not only deserved to get their way, but actually did? Always. In everything, all the time. And what if that person was limitlessly, universe-encompassingly in control of everything that ever happened? No circumstance or situation was outside his realm of absolute influence. And what if this person was life-changingly, world-alteringly, perspective-shatteringly good? Without exception. Ever. So good that there’s no one you would rather have get their way. And so trustworthy, and so wise, that you never had to second guess what came to pass in your life. Because when he got his way, you benefited. His way coming to pass is always your good. His way is never separated from his love for you.
This is Jesus. He is in control, and he is good.
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”
1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (ESV)
And in the midst of pain, and suffering, and hurt, and hardship, Jesus is still in control. We cry tears because we don’t understand. We see death and we fear because it’s the end of everything that we know. We grow angry and resent God because we wonder how anything good could come from things so horrible and broken and twisted. Our hearts cry out with the writer of Ecclesiastes – “What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted” – Eccl. 1:15.
But we can cling to one thing when darkness pushes in on us – that Jesus is good. And he will never deny us his love. He will never hold back from us what is good. Ever.
“If we knew what God knows, we would ask exactly for what he gives.”
– Tim Keller
We are not God. Do we really wish that we were? Would existence be better, would the world be rid of pain and hardship and evil if we were in control? How could it be?
In the furthest corners of our heart, attached to the deepest longings of our being, we ache to know that Jesus is in control. We need to believe that he is good. We need to believe that his love and justice and mercy will conquer everything in this world that brings death and hurt.
And we need to experience this knowledge, this simple trust, this child-like faith in Jesus in the everyday things of life. From our foggy-eyed waking to our dream-drenched sleeping. In our bigger-than-life moments to our mundane, seemingly meaningless blips of rut and routine. We need to know that Jesus is in control of every facet of our lives, whether big or small.
For my worship band and I, we rest in the fact that Jesus is in control of everything we do in worship. We work hard to give our best, and trust Jesus with the outcome. Jesus doesn’t need us, but he has been kind to choose us to lead our students in this season. He will accomplish his purposes every time we lead worship, even if it seems like we’ve made no impact. We sow the seed, and entrust him to produce the fruit. Even if (and when) a worship set is crashing down around us, Jesus’s plans will be carried out, our good will be realized, and his glory will not be diminished.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
We believe that Jesus is in control.
— For the past few months I’ve been been writing about ten values that are shaping my students worship band. This post is part one of two covering the fourth value that is shaping our band.