I want to control things. There’s just one problem: I can’t. I can control some things, like what time my children go to bed at night, how far I run each day, or what we eat for dinner. But I cannot control what life throws at me.
The real kicker is sometimes we don’t understand we are in the thick of things until our nerves start to get thin. All we see is that the plan that we have created for ourselves is not going to…plan. We can’t see that someone else has a different plan for us instead, one that doesn’t involve red carpets and smooth sailing, but rocky hills and muddy valleys.
Let me illustrate with a personal experience.
For a year, it was obvious that my husband needed to change jobs. But he was afraid to venture out into the unknown. Although we both felt that change needed to happen, we chose to just sail smoothly along.
One day we took our plight to the Lord. We went to the temple. Together. (Miracle right there!) We told the Lord that we felt like this was the right thing for him to do, and we wanted to know what our Father in Heaven thought. After pondering, we left the temple feeling like we had made the right decision and we would move forward with a steady but casual job search.
But the Lord had other plans for us. On Monday, my husband received a call from work telling him that his job would be ending. And soon.
Well, how is that for an answer to prayer?!
I could not sleep. I could not breathe. I could hardly function.
I could not control this.
I was angry at my husband. He should have looked sooner, harder, better for a new job.
I was angry at his company. How could they do this to him? Didn’t they know he had a family?
It took me a really long time to stop, collaborate, and listen. When I did, I remembered a small handout that a beloved church leader had given me years ago. It said “Be Still and Know that I am God”
I slept. I breathed. I functioned.
I stopped being angry at my husband.
And not so angry at his company.
But he had also given us a testimony. Hadn’t we gone to the temple and felt that we should look for a new job? Didn’t we know that was the right thing to do? And wasn’t it an odd coincidence that a day after going to the Lord and seeking his guidance that we should be put in this position?
Jacob, a Book of Mormon prophet, shares with us his unshaken testimony of Christ. He testifies that keeping the commandments turns our hearts to the Lord, and in so doing, strengthens our faith so that:
“…the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.”
But he also reminds us that:
“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weaknesses that we may know that it is by his grace…that we have power to do these things.”
(Jacob 4: 7)
Then Jacob shares with us some very powerful words that have served to strengthen my faith in Christ a time or two:
“…by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?”
My friends, for me, this is….awe-some. This is the very definition of “Be Still and Know that I am God”.
And Jacob, what a guy, he even knows that I might want to control things.
“Wherefore [sister], seek not to counsel the Lord, but take counsel from his hand…he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works. Wherefore…be reconciled unto him…”
Our family trial is not over. But I am choosing to Be Still.
There are still mountains to climb and valleys to slog through. But I am choosing to Know.
Sometimes God’s plan for us does not resemble our own. And we cannot control that. But we can control in whom we trust.
“…I Am God”
Jessica Clark is a wife, mom, writer, runner, knitter, and proud Canadian. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Anthropology, and has been a student of people and cultures ever since. Right now she is busy studying the behavior and cultures of the people of Texas.