“Lord, we know that people do not control their own destiny. It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them.” Jeremiah 10:23 (NET1)
If we learned anything in this pandemic, it is how little control we really have of anything. Have you struggled with control issues? We all have them to one extent or another. Some control issues are more obvious than others. Some people control by intimidation. I call them the “intimidator!” They can be short tempered and demanding. They usually react from a deep insecurity. Others may control more passively like the worry wart who tries to control everything by worrying about it. It even worries them when they have nothing to worry about!
It’s simply a part of human nature that we want to be in control of our lives and think that we can control our own destiny. Jeremiah recognized the problem and came to the realization that we really can’t control our lives, but we can submit our lives to God’s care and control. He said, “Lord, we know that people do not control their own destiny. It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them.” Jeremiah 10:23 (NET)
The best illustration of this in the New Testament is in the life of Simon Peter. Jesus was teaching Peter a valuable lesson about control that would prepare Peter to later follow Christ and become a great Apostle. The story is in Luke 5. Peter and his partners had been fishing all night long with no success. They returned to clean their nets and shut down for the day. That’s when Jesus came along and challenged Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a great catch of fish. Listen to Peter’s response in Luke 5:5 “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.”
Peter expressed both respect and sarcasm in his response. He called Jesus, “Master.” He respected the fact that Jesus was a master teacher of spiritual truths and the law, but Peter thought Jesus obviously didn’t know much about fishing. Peter was a fisherman by trade. This was his business and he knew that if they couldn’t catch the fish at night, they would surely not catch any in the heat of the day. Jesus’ suggestion was against conventional wisdom!
Sarcastically, Peter consented to Jesus request with the caveat that “because You say so, I will let down the nets.” This was Peter’s way to prove Jesus wrong. Despite Peter’s disbelief and sarcasm, he obeyed, and because he obeyed, he would experience a miracle! The catch of fish was so great that he had to signal for his partners to help bring in all the fish!
Peter’s response is classic! He fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Vs. 8) Peter realized that Jesus was not only a master teacher but that He was “Lord” of all! The word “Lord” means owner and controller. Jesus was showing Peter that He had control over everything, and if Peter would give up control to Him, He would take control and change his life!
If you wrestle with control issues, then you understand the frustration, fatigue and failure that Peter experienced when he was trying to control his business and his own life. He came up empty! No fish, and he depended on fishing for a living! Jesus taught him the process of letting go. To let go I must give up control first. Then I must give over control of my life and decisions to Jesus. Only then can I get under Christ’s care and control. Peter learned the lesson and would later write this in a letter to believers who wrestled with the same problem. He said, “Cast all your cares on Him (Christ), for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) What is it you need to cast on Him today?