It occurred to me as I was driving Hwy 40 on my way from Tennessee to California for Christmas that God really has this thing dialed. He really does have it all figured out.
You see, I was reading my devotional early one morning- somewhere near Amarillo, Texas- as I have done for the last three hundred and fifty some odd days of the year thus far, and one of the verses- well two actually- really stuck out to me. That’s the amazing thing I’ve found this year as I’ve started each of my days with some reflective time with God- He’s actually there! He listens. He speaks. He guides. And this morning was no different. We were getting on the road early and so it wasn’t until we were driving down the highway that I actually had the chance to stop and take a moment to read my devotional, but the verse was perfectly timed as we headed home to celebrate our saviors birthday.
So the first verse that struck me was this:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:9-11
Man, the power of God and the might of Jesus. It just struck me as so all powerful- this God. “Every knee will bow.” It’s like this wonderful profession that it doesn’t really matter if any of us decide to follow him- to believe in Jesus- every knee will bow anyway. The truth is the truth… it doesn’t require us believing it to make it true. The confidence in that. The peace of God and the safety in His victory.
And what else stuck out to me was this ability to control. A simple word spoken and storms cease and seas part… a world comes into existence. Like crazy, cool, calm and collected powerful control over everything. This God who could easily make any knee bow at any time for any reason… He sends a baby…
In the same devotional I read a passage just a few verses before the last one, and it read:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Phil 2:5-7
Imagine that. An all powerful God’s greatest weapon… is humility and vulnerability.
This isn’t a new lesson. No one is knocked off their feet right now, I get that. We know Jesus came as a baby, obviously. But what really just sat with me is the fact that we can’t be God. We can’t be all powerful. We can’t control our circumstances. We can’t make anyone bow, we can’t prove we’re right- even when we are. We can’t win every battle, like God already has.
And yet we keep trying. We keep the target on more control, more power, the next level of… something. “If I just make more money…” “If I just get that promotion…”
But God is showing us through this example that control and power are not our greatest weapons at all. They don’t bring peace. They’ll actually never give us half of what we will gain through being humble and admitting we’re actually vulnerable. And we CAN choose to be humble and vulnerable anytime. We can’t choose power and strength and control, but we can choose humility.
And when we do that, we will win. Every time. Victory will be ours. We’ll finally have that peace we’re hoping will come with this power and control we’re all seeking in our earthly pursuits. Isn’t that just the funniest thing?
One of my favorite parallels in the Harry Potter series to real life- because there are so many parallels to real life in that series, like for real- is when Voldemort underestimates the power of love. It doesn’t matter how big and powerful and all controlling and fierce he became, he couldn’t kill a vulnerable, humble little baby because it was protected by love- a spell that can’t be penetrated. A protection the enemy hadn’t anticipated.
Love is strong enough to win. And humility is the fiercest weapon we have to wield. AND, we all have access to it. All of us. All the time. Who would have guessed? In a world where we’ve all got so many dang balls in the air and we’re all trying to grab control over as many things as we possibly can, perhaps the answer is to admit and embrace our vulnerability. Perhaps the answer will always be to admit we have no power and no control at all.
As I walk into the new year, I am going to hold this lesson close to my heart. My greatest anxieties come from the places where I seek to have the most power and the most control- parenting, work, finances… you get it. This year my aim will be to accept my vulnerability to getting it wrong and failing. My goal will be to walk through those failures with more humility and less pride. My prayer is that I’ll lean into that love to protect me and keep me safe, in a world where I often feel out of control.
My hope is that you’ll do the same.