At one time, Bulstrode Whitelocke was England’s ambassador to Sweden, back then, as now, life was chaotic and uncertain. The night before he was to leave for Sweden, Whitelocke spent the night in a country inn near the ship that would take him on his journey when morning came.
Whitelocke could not sleep. He tossed and turned, wondering if he was up to the task before him, wondering if he could measure up to the expectations that people had of him. A traveling companion, a kind of valet-bodyguard and friend slept in the same room with him. Sensing that Whitelocke was troubled, he quietly asked if he might ask a question of him.
“Certainly,” said Whitelocke, somewhat relieved to know that he was not the only one to whom sleep would not come.
“Do you not think that God governed the world very well before you came into it?” he asked. And without hesitation, the ambassador replied, “Without any doubt.” Then said the companion, “Do you not think that God can and will still govern the world just as well when you have left it?” “Surely,” he said, somewhat taken aback by the inference.
“I hope you will not be offended,” countered the friend, “if I ask if you cannot trust Him to run the world while you are still in it, just as well as after you are gone.” He got the point. There was nothing to add. And Whitelocke turned over and went to sleep.
Question: Does God work the night shift when you toss and turn, your stomach churning and your hands wet with perspiration? If so, and He handled things before you were born and will do equally as well after you are gone, cannot you trust Him to keep things under control during your lifetime?
If you can trust God to run the universe with no fear that a comet from some distant orb may sweep into the gravitation of our planet and wipe out a few hundred million people or so, can’t you also trust Him to bring together those broken, shattered pieces of your life? Can you not trust Him to mend your broken heart, and–yes–to protect you from yourself, who is often your own worst enemy?
Why are we so hesitant to trust? Is it because we don’t think God is equal to the task, or are we even unconvinced that He is interested in us and our problems? Probably you would have to answer, “No” to both questions.
I think the real issue is that we stubbornly hate to admit defeat. We hesitate to say, “I can’t solve this—it is beyond me.” Our stubborn independence keeps us estranged from God and strangers to sleep and peace of mind.
OK, I have a suggestion. For just today—for the next 24 hours—can you relinquish the control of the world and your personal life to this awesome, marvelous God whose Word cannot be broken? Can you accept the assurance Jesus gave when He so candidly said, “I will never leave you or forsake you”?
That means when you come to the end of the day, you stop carrying your burden and say, “OK, God, please take the night shift. I need sleep, and I am trusting you as Sovereign of the Universe to take over what I cannot control or do.”
It is amazing how much peace comes to your heart when you remind yourself of what Jesus said in the Upper Room. Remember His words? “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
There are some things that only God can do, and when you really, really understand that, it is so much easier to put in His hands what you cannot do. Try it—just for today.
Resource reading: Psalm 77:1-20