You never know how even the most casual comment can profoundly impact the trajectory of someone’s journey.
In the early 2000s, I visited a fellowship in Nottingham, England, on a couple of occasions within a few years. I remember those visits with a smile and enjoyed the pastor and his family where Sara and I stayed. I hadn’t heard from them since until this email showed up in my inbox last week. I’m sure I must have taught some wonderful things when I was there, but what God seemed to find most valuable was a simple comment I made in passing. I’ll let Gary tell you about it:
Your visits to us all those years ago fundamentally altered the spiritual direction of travel for our family and for the church. My family remembers you fondly. Being a Vineyard church, our relationship with God was ministry-led.
However, your presence shifted us towards an authentic personal journey with God-experienced in community. I remember profoundly you looking at my well-organized calendar and saying, “You do know that control is an illusion, don’t you?”
In light of that, I wanted to let you know that I have written a book summarising my spiritual journey. It’s where I arrived after all those years. The title is Control, the Illusion, and the Lie: The illusion is that you can have control and the lie is that you need it.
It’s a personal spiritual growth book for people to join me on the journey, arising from a fresh view of the beatitudes. My writing may not be the best, but I am a message carrier which I believe I have achieved in the book.
I have used some of the material with a friend who does research for an international computer company. At the time, he was undergoing some top-flight psychotherapy that these companies provide for their executives. On sharing some of the material with his psychotherapist, the therapist said, “this is great. Can I use it?”
God works in mysterious ways.
That he does.
I love his story, and if you’ve read much of my stuff, you know how passionate I am that the love of the Father displaces our need to feel in control of our circumstances. There is no more frustrated person than the one trying to white-knuckle their way through difficult times rather than letting God guide them through them. Thinking we can control what happens to us is an illusion, and learning to live in his unfolding reality is much better than trying to get him to do what we want. Recognizing our powerlessness is a doorway into living lightly and freely in the world, and seeing God’s glory unfold.
His book is a wonderfully simple read with a profound message that will change the way you live in the world and leave you ever-more free to embrace him and his glory as it unfolds in you. This is one powerful thought I got from Gary’s book:
In circumstances when we feel powerless, we don’t have to give in or give up; we give way to what the Father has in mind.