Face to Face - Part 5 [Devo]

God Is Always In Control

Face to Face, Part 5
“Sometimes things just go wrong.” I remember hearing that quite often throughout my life. Whether it was striking out in a little league game, which happened often, or a more serious situation, like a car accident. Sometimes, no matter how much you practice or how carefully you drive, things just go wrong.

My eldest brother, Bryan, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was a baby. I remember him in drug trials, respiratory therapy, and long hospital stays.

His journey through life was quite a rollercoaster. His weight fluctuated, he dealt with endless respiratory issues, and his stints in the hospital would vary in length, from days to weeks at a time. But he always came home.

Fast forward to summer 2001. I was a junior in college and had just proposed to my girlfriend, who is now my wife. Life was going pretty well for me. Once again, it was time for Bryan to go into the hospital for what was considered a pretty minor issue. Like so many times before, I assumed he would be fine. Until he wasn’t.

Late one night, my father woke me in a complete panic. I can’t remember the exact words he used, but I will never forget his expression.

We sped to Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, where we met my mother and my other brother. We got there just in time to watch them take my unconscious brother to the ICU. A little over a week later, he was gone. As a young child, his doctors gave him a life expectancy of 25 years. My brother passed away on August 18, 2001, three and a half months shy of his 26th birthday.

For my family, it was devastating. But for Bryan, he was finally released from the shackles of his disease and was now in the presence of God! He could look at Jesus’ face and hear God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

We always knew he wasn’t going to have a typical life. Yet, that didn’t ease the feeling of loss and sadness when he passed. I prayed for God to heal him in that hospital bed. I then prayed for God to ease the grief we were feeling when He decided to call him home. But there is something else that, only years later did I understand, should have been at the top of my list of prayers.

Philippians 4:6-7 says:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
In my naive understanding, I thought this meant that if you prayed, He would answer. Almost a transaction between me and God. My request will be answered. I didn’t stop to think about what else God might have in mind.

I ask God to help me see the bigger picture and to understand that it isn’t about what I want.

In the years since, I have gained a better understanding of what this verse and others like it mean. I now approach prayer differently. Every prayer includes a request for God to help me understand and accept the outcome. I ask God to help me see the bigger picture and to understand that it isn’t about what I want. We only ever see things from our perspective. God has a 30,000 foot view of life. I didn’t understand at the time why my brother had to suffer his entire life. I can’t say I understand it now. But, through prayer, I’ve learned and accepted it was all part of God’s plan. One of the darkest days in my life was the beginning of my brother’s everlasting life with Jesus.

It has taken me many years to truly grasp this concept. But from this experience, my belief is strengthened that God is ALWAYS in control. I challenge you to think about an experience that didn’t make sense at the time. Ask God to bring a fresh clarity to the situation so that you may see how, through that experience, God showed you He is in control.
Author: Jason Baily, Production Assistant/Lighting Director
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