Romans 6:22 – But now you are free from the power of sin and are slaves of God, and his benefits to you include holiness and everlasting life. (TLB)
Perhaps the hardest thing about getting old, or undergoing hospitalization or surgery, is the loss of one's independence. It must have been frightening for Peter to hear the Lord's words, as told in John 21:18: "When you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." (TLB)
For the last few weeks, after an angiogram revealed problems with my heart, I have been taken "where I did not want to go"! I had to wait to have the operation scheduled, going here for this test, there for that one. I had lots of time to think that someone, albeit highly skilled, was going to break open my ribcage and do some fancy needlework with the one organ that had kept me going for the last 70-odd years, a thought that did nothing for my peace of mind!
Then came my minister to my hospital room, offering not just "Good luck and all the best", but a reminder of the very presence of Jesus in the form of the Holy Eucharist! Now am I reminded into whose hands I am committed. Now the assurance that not only the surgeon's hands, but also the hands of my Saviour, will hold my heart, replaces my worry with peace. Maybe it won't be so bad to lose control of my future if He is going to take control. Come to think of it, I guess He is the one who has been in control all the time anyway. Furthermore, since He made me and knows what skills, and weaknesses, are in my makeup, who better could be in control, whether when "walking through the valley of the shadow", or across the sunlit plains and meadows, for that matter?
Actually, I am glad that I learned long ago to let Him take control; that to be "bossed around" by Jesus is to enjoy the greatest independence anyone can know. "How sweet it is." How terrifying it must be to face some of the uncertainties of life (like major surgery), without knowing who is really "in charge". Yes, just call me "Pete".
Prayer: Jesus, I thank You for those times of weakness when I am glad to know that You are in control of my life. Remind me, in those proud times when I feel strong enough to "go it alone" and that I can trust my own strength, that You alone can free my spirit and show me how to be the kind of "success" You alone can make of my life. Amen.