I’ve Got the Power


PowerManIt wasn’t that it was written in some magnificent prose. Nor was it some new revelation for me. I know this stuff. At least I say I know it. I’ve even taught it. But there was something about reading it this time that nailed my conscience.

For the last couple of days I have been reading through Alicia Britt Chole’s Anonymous. It had been recommended by Kevin Myers at 12Stone, a church that warmly welcomed us on our August Sunday morning visit.

Chole writes about those seasons in our lives where we are out of the limelight and our purpose appears to be nil. She calls it the “hidden years” and likens it to the years leading up to Jesus emerging on the scene and coming to John the Baptist to be baptized. Jesus’ life had been “hidden” for nearly two decades. No messages. No miracles.  No visible example of how to live.

Using these silent years of Jesus as a springboard, Chole aims to show the purpose and value in these hidden seasons and how to respond in the midst of the dark days of apparent insignificance. This is what she writes:

In hidden years, delayed dreams press the question of whom we will let hold the clock for the rest of our lives. When God’s timing is not our timing and it is in our power to do something about it, whose timing will we will choose? 

“And it is in our power to do something about it!” Our power! God allows us the power to make choices. He allows us to choose. We can choose to wait or we can choose to bolt ahead.

Abraham could have waited on God to provide a son. Instead, he takes the reigns of power and sleeps with Hagar. He had a choice. He could wait on God to provide the son or he could take the matter into his own hands. He chose the do-it-yourself route.

The Question

But here is my question: When it is wrong to take charge? There are two erroneous polar responses to this question. The first is to take the approach of “I must take control. It’s up to me, and me alone, to work for what I can get.” The other equally inappropriate response is to “just pray about it.” Don’t DO anything but pray. Sit back and let God do His thing.

Many of us are faced with situations where the right response, wait or take charge with God’s help, may not be so obvious. We know we don’t want to make some conscious decision to buck what we believe God wants us to do. However, when is it wrong to be proactive and take responsibility and work toward a goal?

It may be a decision on how to respond to a difficult marriage. It may be wondering whether a family member should be confronted. Maybe it’s a 29 year-old who eagerly wants to be married and have children—“Should I wait on God or settle for the guy I met at the club?” Perhaps it’s the employee who is questioning “Should I stick this out or proactively seek a new job.”

Peter Bourke is a good friend and author of A Better Way to Make a Living…and a Life. There is a quote I have taken from his book and shared with friends and tweeted throughout the universe. This is it, “There is no confusion about who is responsible for your career and your future. You are!” Peter is dead-on. It’s not our employer who is responsible for our future. Nor is it our manager. It’s us—we are responsible. If our life, and work-life, is heading down an uncomfortable corridor, we are responsible for making the right choices to bring order back into our life.

What If

Yet, what if God has a plan for us in that uncomfortable work situation? What if he wants us there for a purpose we don’t yet understand? What if we have “the power” to make a move, but God’s desire for us is to embrace contentment in the season of obscurity?

We may have the power and legal right to pursue the divorce. We may have the power to put that family member in her place.  We may have the power to marry that guy. We may have the power to liquidate our debt through bankruptcy. We may have the power to accept the offer for a new job. We may have the power to relocate out of the neighborhood. We may have the power to expose a competitor’s dishonesty. We can rap along with Snap! and proclaim it to the world: I’ve got the power. But if we exercise that power to take charge could we be forfeiting the ultimate purpose God has for us during the seemingly hidden, dark, unproductive season of life?

This is the question I wrestle with today. There is no formula or steps that lay out the answers—especially for the unique individual situations of life. Rather, it’s a deliberate choice we must repeatedly make. A choice to turn away from the lure of rationalization.  And a choice to seek God’s direction through prayer, wise counsel, alignment with His Word and a commitment to “Thy will be done.”

“When God’s timing is not our timing and it is in our power to do something about it, whose timing will we will choose?”

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“Anonymous” was also the springboard for another post: Revealed: The Ugly Truth About My Midlife Crisis.

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