I’m a planner. I like to be in control, to know what is going on now, and what is going to happen later. Fear and pride are at the heart of this of course, but the myth I tell myself is that only I can do it right.
I have been on a slow journey to a goal. I believe that God has made the pursuit of this goal possible. It has to be God, because too many diverse circumstances resulted in just the right situation at the perfect time, incorporating several people and events – far too complex for me to have orchestrated.
And yet. And yet I still hold on tight to the reigns; I still fret and worry and wonder and scheme. On top of that, I have noticed a disappointing tendency in myself: while I try to wrest control of my life away from God, I also expect Him to do most of the work, like the man who prays to the saints to help him win the lottery, but never buys a ticket.
I’d been expecting to hear positive news regarding the goal I mentioned earlier. In this particular instance, I had actually applied myself to the task and fully expected – full of smug virtue – that I would be rewarded. I waited for months, never doubting a positive outcome. Finally the result came back and the news was not glorious. Refused. Rejected.
Deflated. I had a moment (or two) of questioning the goal. I was feeling self-indulgent for persisting, doubting my ability to achieve anything, thinking about giving it up.
As He so often does in my life, God broke through the moment. The readings of that day spoke to me about being filled with the knowledge of God’s will; to live in a manner worthy of the Lord; that every good work bears fruit; asking for endurance, patience, joy; to give thanks to the Father. (Col. 1: 9-12) The gospel reading had Jesus telling Simon to cast his net into the deep – though he had worked hard all night with no result. They catch enough fish to nearly sink two boats. (Lk. 5: 1-11)
Those readings may not strike you as being meant to encourage someone who was doubting her path in life, but believe me, on that day when I read them, I knew God was in control of the timing. Praying with the daily readings is part of my regular habit, though by no means do I do so every day. I remember deliberating that morning whether I would, and feeling nudged to do so.
I immediately felt at peace. Gone was the doubt, the resignation. I was encouraged and reassured - and also challenged to surrender to God. I am to ‘cast into the deep’ as He bids me, and trust that the work will bear good fruit.