Feeling Stressed? God Is In Control.
It is only one week before the retreat. The phone rings for the hundred and sixteenth time with….
‘I don’t know if I can come or not now after all.
Can I have a refund?’
‘Whom do I have to room with? Who?!!?? No way, they snore!’
‘Hi, this is your speaker, and I have a terrible case of the flu!’
‘Can I bring 10 friends with me now…and oh, can they all bring a friend too?’
‘I have to bring my pets with me – Fluffy and Snuffy won’t make too much of a mess.’
‘I know I said I could lead worship/do a workshop/lead a small group; but I can’t come now.’
Sound a little too familiar? This could definitely be a ‘Calgon, Take Me Away/Maalox Moment!’ You are now about to ask yourself that dreaded retreat leader question: “Is this really worth it?”
STOP! Ask yourself these questions instead:
Who is in control? You, or God?
Who should be in control? You, or God?
Remember that God does as He pleases, and He does it right well. We should try not to worry about failure. “Though the mountains (or retreat leader) be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
In the hustle and bustle of planning it is easy to forget the true purpose of getting away for spiritual and physical renewal. We focused on a retreat leader a few years ago that found her registration drastically dropping two weeks before the retreat. She had been working so hard planning a wonderful getaway for her women’s group but they were canceling. As she prayed for guidance, the question struck her…whose retreat was it? It was God’s retreat and God would bring the people He wanted!
Deciding to let God be the driving force she gave all those canceling 24 hours to pray and ask for God’s will. Attendance doubled and lives were richly blessed. It is easy to lose sight of God’s purpose in the excitement and stress of organizing the details of an event, but remembering He is the great advisor and always just a prayer away can keep the retreat focused and productive.
Servant hood is inconvenient; Jesus welcomed inconvenience!
Twila Paris, a well – known Christian artist, penned a song aptly named for this article “God is in Control”:
God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him we know
God is in control
‘God is in Control’ originally recorded on ‘Beyond a Dream’ (Star Song Records) 1993 Ariose Music/Mountain Spring Music – ASCAP
Are we letting God do His work? Do we feel like we could perhaps do a better job than He can? That may sound laughable, but sometimes as we are very honest with ourselves we find our motives are not as pure as we first might have thought.
Oswald Chambers, in his devotional “My Utmost for His Highest,” wrote about this very subject:
Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” John 5:17
What we have to do, and what God cannot do, is to work out what He has worked in. We try to do God’s work for Him, and God has to wait until we are passive enough to let Him work in us. To believe in Jesus means retiring and letting God take the mastership inside. That is all God asks of us. Have we ever gotten in the way of letting God work or are we so amazingly important that we really wonder what the Almighty does before we are up in the morning! We are so certain we know what is right, and if we don’t always keep at it God cannot get on. Compare that view with the grand, marvelous working of God in the life of the Lord Jesus. Our Lord did not work for God; He said, “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.”
Let us keep that in mind as we do the wonderful work of planning retreats!