John 16:33 (New International Version)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
One of the situations that causes tension for all of us is our attempt to control our lives. We seem to feel that the tighter we hold on, direct and attempt to fix, the better things will be. However, God would obviously like us to lean a bit more on Him, to surrender and follow his lead. It's not always easy to determine just where He's leading us, but when we humbly ask for help, it's amazing what can happen. Helen Scheid of Rochester, Minnesota,knows this very well.
Helen has her PhD in Psychological Measurement and Evaluation (wow!) And has been a consultant and a director of her own company, one that provides examinations and licensing for schools and state boards. A business wanted Helen's professional advice to help their board of directors choose among three bidders for a project. But the board members didn't know what questions to ask, nor how to evaluate the answers when they got them.
It was a rather routine situation, and Helen felt she could help. She was familiar with the corporation, and with the three organizations whose bids they were considering. "I knew the strengths and the weaknesses of each, and I felt certain I could help them make their own good decision," Helen says. "That's what an effective consultant should do."
So far, so good. But as the evaluations and discussions proceeded through the first day, Helen sensed that one of the three organizations was already being favored. By the second day it became clear that the directors were divided into two camps---those with a preconceived plan in favor of that bidder, and those who wanted to weigh the evidence before making any decision. "I tried to steer a neutral course between the two, directing their attention to facts and data and the implications of alternatives," Helen says, "but by lunch time, there was a stalemate. The directors were no longer treating one another with ordinary courtesy and respect; the velvet gloves were coming off. What was I to do?"
Lunch was brought in to the conference room to expedite the agenda. Tension had taken away any appetite Helen had, so she excused herself to go for a walk. And on the path, she prayed. "Dear God," she said, "I'm in an impossible situation. I really don’t know what I can do about it. There is a lot of friction and hostility in this group, and some of it has a long history that I really can't deal with. I know they have to make a decision, and they have to make it now. But no one wants to compromise, and everyone wants it their own way. I have to go back to the meeting now, God, but I'm leaving it in your hands to show me what I can do to help them resolve this."
Instead of hanging on even tighter to an imaginary sense of control, Helen had asked God to take over. “I was still a little anxious about what I should do," she says, "but I also felt that I didn't have to worry." She went back to the meeting, and the discussion resumed.
Surprisingly, as the afternoon progressed, the tone of the meeting changed. Somehow, the directors found ways to accommodate the differences that had overwhelmed them in the morning. By the end of the day, there was complete consensus on the decision to be made, and the morning of the third day could be spent in working out the details of its implementation.
"I know that nothing I said or did in the meeting contributed to the outcome, but I'm equally certain that what I did outside the meeting had a direct effect," Helen says. The company chairmen drove Helen to the airport, and she decided to share what had happened.
"I was wondering what had changed everyone at that meeting from the morning to the afternoon of the second day---and now I know!" The chairman said.
It's not always easy to relinquish control. But when we invite God to direct us, amazing things happen.
Dear Lord we pray that we would invite You today to direct us in all things. We pray that in all situations we will not try to do it on our own but that we would let You direct our thoughts and ideas. In Jesus’ name, Amen.