We all want it.
We all want to be in it.
Yet, I learned the other day the benefit of not being in control.
It was Sunday morning, and I had just finished my Gideon Bible study lesson. “What are my tendencies?” That was the question I was to ask myself about my response to control. Gideon may have rejected the role of king, yet he still acted like one. I began to ask myself where I sought authority, attention, and accolades. At the end of the lesson, I began filling in the space reserved for prayer:
I pray you will reveal my sinful tendencies. I know as I prepare to sing today that the attention and stage presence can be a snare. May I sing…
At that moment, I received a text message from my pianist and friend. She was ill and couldn’t be there that morning to accompany my solo we had practiced for two weeks. She had contacted our worship minister to inform him, hoping he would be able to play for me. But, I knew the nuances of song would be too difficult for another pianist to simply pick up fifteen minutes before the beginning of the service.
I knew this situation was out of my control.
What do you think I did?
I texted my friend, encouraged her by saying it would all be fine, and told her to focus on getting better. I emailed the worship director, asked if he had any ideas, and let him know I would be there a half hour before my scheduled rehearsal. I poked each member of my family and informed them of the situation. I finished that prayer I had started with “May I sing whatever You have planned….” Then I left for church.
Wait a minute, you might be saying. You smiled?!
Because in those minutes between texts and emails, I asked God for a hymn. Something simple. One I knew well. One any of our pianists could play.
He had given me the title.
I practiced it on my way to church along with the previous song just in case it could work. When I arrived, I asked our pastor if the theme for the morning was still “finances.” He confirmed it was. I smiled again.
As it happened, my aunt was playing the organ that morning. She is extremely talented. Yet, even she agreed, the first song required more practice. I asked our worship director if the song God had given me was on the list of hymns that morning. He said it wasn’t.
“How about that one?” I asked my aunt.
She began to play without the music in front of her, lowering the key to my range.
That was the song I sang. Here are its lyrics.
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land,
Yes, I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand. Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
While the first verse applied to the sermon, the second was personally convicting. Now you know why I smiled. Why when I received any applause or accolades that morning, I said my thanks and if given the opportunity shared that I had nothing to do with its choosing.
Why I was blessed to be out of control and totally in His.