“From life’s first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny…
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
– from,” In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend
It is good to be back after taking a bit of a break for the holidays. Spending time with family and a few friends, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas, is a joyful experience. Making the celebrations particularly special this year has been sharing with our daughter and son-in-law in the preparations for the birth of our very first grandchild. Needless to say this is a huge life transition for us all. All our anticipation was realized last Saturday with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl (who looks like she might share her grandpa’s red hair)!
While sitting at the hospital, as our daughter was beginning the process of bringing this new life into the world, a line from one of my favorite worship songs suddenly popped into my head. “In Christ Alone” is a song that powerfully communicates the truths of the Gospel. At its core, it exalts the Son of God, as both sovereign Lord and our one true hope. As the lines played across my heart I was reminded that, at all times – whether at birth or death, in peace or in pain, in times of effectiveness or times when plans and dreams are turning to dust – Jesus alone commands the course of our lives. I like the term “commands”, because it creates the image of one who is at the helm-on deck and involved as the ship navigates the seas.
I have lived much of life with the sense that I am “in control.” But it is clearly an illusion; albeit, a powerful one. Every day, I believe it is my plans, my strategy, and my savvy that moves my life forward. Even ministry, baptized with the required prayer, can ultimately be viewed from the standpoint of what I am able to pull off. Not until we have the opportunity to be immersed in something as powerful as the birth of a human life does the illusion become crystal clear. There are forces at work every moment of every day that I have little consciousness of – let alone control over – that shape the world and our lives. God has graciously been teaching me through the years that even when I thought control had slipped from my grasp, it was never really mine in the first place. His strong hands guide my destiny.
There is great hope and encouragement in this, I think. To give up the illusion is a scary thing, for it is what I have known and become familiar with. The reward of exchanging that illusion for the truth, however, is a freedom that sets my life at ease, and makes each day a true adventure. A large part of the process is learning to trust His heart, that He is really FOR me. I am trading the self-limiting constraints of being in charge, for the joy of standing with Him as He guides the journey we are on together.
There are times in our lives when the world seems to be coming apart, and moments when we think we are on top of it all. As we battle with all of the emotions – both the pain and the pride-one thing remains. He always commands our destiny.