I am blessed with very unruly hair. Two-thirds of it is curly, while the other third is straight as a pin. These fractions are distributed randomly all around my head so there is no uniformity at all. Additionally, all of it tends to be frizzy, and it is very thick. Actually, the more appropriate word is big. I’ve worn it short, long, and every length in between, bangs and no bangs; layered and blunt. There is not a single style for which the characteristics of my hair are advantageous.
So, why am I talking about my hair on a biblical counseling blog? Because it is the perfect illustration for what I want to communicate to you today. There is just one way to make my hair look decent, and that is to apply a flat iron to it. This ingenius invention reaches 400 degrees, and when I place my hair between those two fiery metal plates, a miracle happens. My hair is smooth, straight, glossy, and as close to perfect as it will get in this world. As you can probably guess, I love my flat iron because it allows me to control my crazy hair.
There are very few things in this world that are in our control, right? Can you think of any? Off the top of my frizzy head, I can think of very few. We humans don’t like not being in control. When bad things happen, we get stressed out because they are not in our control. If you have chronic pain or disability, you know this to be true. I had no control over the surgeon who botched my knee replacement, yet, if God does not heal me, I must live with the pain of that for the rest of my life. Think briefly about how you got to where you are physically today, and ask yourself how much of that was in your control?
Even if your pain was a result of your own sin, and could conceivably have been avoided had you been obedient, there is still an element of it that was not in your control. Abraham, Rachael, and Peter are all examples of people who sinned in their response to trials, yet God used the consequences of that sin for His glory! God sovereignly ordains everything that happens to us, for His purposes. Even a passing glance at Romans 9 will confirm that for you. Figuring out the balance between God’s sovereignty and human will is a task far above my pay grade, but I will say this: I know that God is sovereign over every aspect of my life, and I know that His purposes are always for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28-30). Armed with these two facts, I can face any out-of-control situation that comes my way.
What are you trying to control today, my friend? Is it something more than frizzy hair? I promise you that it did not surprise our Father. He always knows what you need, and if He is wanting to draw you closer to Himself, teach you something, or grow your faith in Him, you can bet that He will use whatever that trial is to do so. Your fiery trial can straighten out your heart and smooth out what is ugly and out of control in your relationship with the Lord. But you must be willing to look at it that way. Just as I have trained my mind to hate my frizzy hair and long to control it, so perhaps you have always hated your trial, and longed for an end to it.
I challenge you today to look at your trial from God’s perspective. What might He be trying to teach you? Open your Bible, and start looking for His message to you. The verses in the footnote below are a good start. Pray, and ask your heavenly Father to reveal more of Himself to you, even as you suffer this God-ordained trial. His Word never returns void, but always brings about what He wants it to (Is 55:11). Trust that He is able, not only to bring you through the trial, but also to make your faith stronger and your heart more confident in Him than you were before. He is faithful, and will do it!