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Man in Anguish“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

My first foreign mission trip was the longest and most intense experience of the Lord’s presence that I have ever enjoyed. It was frustrating to get back to the “normal” of corporate American life. I had a mission in the workplace, but it just wasn’t the same.

What was the difference? How could I have that experience here at home? Was it even possible?

After much searching, in prayer and conversation with fellow missionaries, I came to a very simple conclusion: The primary difference was “control”. At home, I had it. On the mission field, I did not.

On the mission field, I did not get to decide what I would eat, where I would sleep, nor where I would go to minister each day. It was the first time in my adult life that I was completely out of control.

It was an exhilarating adventure – excitement and fear in just the right measures.

God used that experience to teach me a valuable lesson about myself; and about the life I was choosing to live. Letting go of control has been a long and challenging process. The battle is still going on. I am grateful for His patience and persistence.

Of course, being “out of control” is counter-intuitive. The world tells us it is counter-productive. The risks of losing control are presented – by our flesh and the world – as far greater than anyone would dare assume.

So, let’s stop right here and face one very important fact: Most of God ways are counter-productive in worldly terms, and therefore counter-intuitive to our carnal minds. This issue of control is as old as man’s rebellion in the Garden; it is the decision to be our own king.

Leaders in the workplace – pastors included – are expected (by some very important people) to keep their environments “under control”. For the Christian in these situations, the best question to ask ourselves is, “Whose control?”

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my first foreign mission trip was under God’s control. My inability to control allowed Him to will and do to His good pleasure. His good pleasure was to give me a taste of His kingdom. My experience was an “eternal life knowing” of Him and His Son.

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35

Consider this: Losing control is not something you do (at least not at first). Losing control begins with a desire – a desire that God has put in your heart. Ask Him to stir up that desire; and – here’s the risky part – give you opportunities to be out of control. He will use these to encourage, edify and equip you for joyful, Spirit-filled ministry.

Humbly yours and forever His,

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