Control: Peter’s lament

This blog entry is inspired by personal reflection on the issue of CONTROL.  While most of our blog entries are news and updates related to our ministry in Congo, we will also try to note things we have observed.  

Control- how much do you like to have control of things in your life on a day to day, week to week basis?  How about just through the day?  How much are you willing to completely give up control?  As I adjust to daily life in Congo, I am being reminded of the many ways I like to have things under my control.   I like them planned out and organized in my life.  Here are a few of the things that happened recently which were out of my control and impacted me. (at times I’ve felt a bit like the monkey in the picture on the right!)

  1. The visa interview for VP Elenga was scheduled for last Tuesday.  We had a confirmation document for that day.  However, his name was not on the list that the guard outside had and if you’re name is not on the list they will not let you in.  We were told that they needed to show the paper confirming that the interview the week earlier was canceled.  Amazingly we were able to get online in mid-morning and send the document, but by then it was too late to let him in.   So we tried to contact the Consul and thankfully we were eventually able to get him an appointment for last Thursday, during which he was granted his US Visa!  Praise God!  Even with the eventual success, it was out my control.
  2. Late in the day I checked on how the plumbing was going in the bathroom and immediately noticed that the sewer pipe was too high.  Where was the plumber to ask about this?  He came by later and I explained my concern.  His explanation of how it would be worked out did not make sense to me and I was not sure he understood.
  3. Our email service is either through a 53.6kbs cell phone modem or a shared satellite system that sometimes we get to access via wireless outside the guest house; other days we should be able to access the satellite through a LAN at the church offices.  I had a number of messages I wanted to send and once the generator was turned on in the evening there was no wireless signal, nor did I have a key to the office to use the cable, nor would the cell phone modem connect (probably due to inadequate capacity).  I was frustrated and there was nothing else I could do to try change the situation and get connected.  It was out of my control.

And these are just the bigger things that hit me that day.  There are other smaller ones that seem to come up each day where I am not in control.  Needless to say, at the end of the day I was FRUSTRATED.  So many things were out of my control and I didn’t like it.  Not one little bit.  I wanted to cry out.  That might feel good for a few seconds, but it would not bring peace.  After a night’s rest I slowly began to turn reflect on the words of some of the songs I had played the previous evening, using playing hymns as a way to calm me down.  Listen:

* Take time to be Holy, speak oft with thy Lord.  Abide in Him always and feed on His word. Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing, His blessing to seek.

* When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do his good will, Christ abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.  Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

* I am thine O Lord- I have heard thy voice, and it told thy love to me; but I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to thee.  Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where thou has died; draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to the precious bleeding side.

And then I think of Christ’s call to me, of His call to give up my life.  What does that mean on a practical day to day basis?  Does it not mean that He is to be in control, that we are to relinquish our control, even over some of the basic things?  Yes, Lord, there’s a lesson here for me.  Forgive me Lord for my obstinacy.  Enable me to allow You to be in control of my life all through each day.  Help me to trust You, knowing that You hold the world in Your mighty hands.  Open my eyes to see the internal issues when the visible frustrations come up.

I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer.  We need to live this out every day:

Lord, grant me the ability to accept the things I cannot change (cultural issues, issues related to building),
the courage to change the things I can (me and my attitude),
and the wisdom to know the difference (which is hard!)

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One Response to “Control: Peter’s lament”

  1. Bill Ragan says:

    Thanks so much for this great newsletter. THE message for my whole life: “Relax, God is in control.” I especially needed to hear it today. Thanks so much for the videos. It takes me back, and put a burning desire in me to GO back. Let’s talk! I have a 2 month sabbatical due to me. The serenity prayer is attributed to a forebearer of our denomination (United Church of Christ), the great theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr; a good prayer to live by.

    Bill Ragan

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