“And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.”Ephesians 1:22
I’ve recently found myself wrestling with faith. Not the kind of wrestling that leads to walking away. The kind of wrestling that asks, “Do you really trust him?” And I know for some those two types of wrestling matches might appear the same, but they certainly feel different. I’ve always been a pretty self-reliant, self-sufficient person. I don’t mean to not lean on others; it just sometimes happens naturally. In almost any situation, my natural inclination is not to turn to others or even God first. I look to my abilities, my focus, and my grit.
But that will only get you so far.
This fall I, like most I’m assuming, were paralyzed by Hurricane Ida. Many of us evacuated, and if you were like me, you sat watching the news for hours on end. As I was eight hours away from my home, I watched as intently and closely as possible as Ida slowly moved over our region. And as I did that the anxiety and fear would flood me. What happened to my house? What broke? What will need repaired? How much will that cost? If you ask some of my friends and fellow pastors and leaders, I know I bugged them to death to check on my house, and even then, I had this nagging thought: “What is wrong that they can’t see?”
I’ve reflected on these thoughts and that anxiety for months now. I’ve lived in New Orleans for over thirteen years and have experienced a handful of hurricanes, albeit none like Ida. Why was this experience different?
The Difference Comes Down to Trust
Unlike previous hurricanes, I was a homeowner through Ida, and therefore had new concerns––fences, shingles, water, wind, insurance, deductibles, and more. While my situation in life had changed, guess who hadn’t changed? Jesus.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:20–23 that by the power of God the Father, Jesus is our king. He’s been resurrected to life and exalted to the highest place, but this resurrection and exaltation isn’t just for show. There’s substance behind it. Jesus is king! All things are under his feet” (Ephesians 1:22). All things. Even hurricanes. I knew that and understood that cognitively. But as my faith became (needed to be) real I struggled to feel that.
Jesus is the King of everything––plants, animals, humans, angels, demons, and even hurricanes. Nothing exists outside of his dominion and rule. Nothing. Some things might want to exist outside of his rule, and some things might appear as though they exist outside of his rule, but they do not.
The thing about faith is you have to let go. You have to trust whole-heartedly. I don’t mean your faith is blind and no foundation exists for it. I simply mean that if in your mind you believe certain things about God that trust should extend to what you feel about God and ultimately how you live for God.
This is difficult work. As I sat watching Hurricane Ida blow through, my first inclination was to think, “How can I stop this?” Dustin can’t stop a hurricane. You can’t stop a hurricane. My second inclination was to pray: “God please stop this hurricane.” But outside of a sun-stand-still-kind-of miracle I knew that wasn’t going to happen as well. So I was left with a hurricane. And this week as I reflected on the hurricane and my faith I was reminded of why trust can be so difficult. I don’t want pain, suffering, and difficulty. Life with relative ease is nice. I think you would agree. But God uses pain, suffering, and difficulty. I know that and actually believe that.
This week I was left with this truth and reality: Jesus is king. Sometimes he allows difficult things to happen that I don’t understand. But he’s in absolute control and always has my best in mind. I have to trust him.
The Father has put all things under Jesus’ feet. That’s the truth. That’s the reality we live in. Do you believe it? Do you trust it? How will your life be different because of it?