Preparing for Worship – John Kelly.
Looking through this week’s worship order, I have to admit: I smirked a bit when I saw “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” listed in the order. Like many of you, I assume, it was one of the first songs I remember learning to sing.
It was just so convenient and reassuring, picking and plopping things God had in God’s hands, for verses on end! “God’s got my mom and dad … my best friend, Michael … my beagle named Belton … my toys and Nintendo … in God’s hands.” Looking back now, I find little John’s simple faith kind of smirk-worthy, too. “God loves me, so God cares about what I care about.” Rinse and repeat.
If only our relationships to faith and God could always be so simple. But — oh, boy! — life refuses to stay toddler-level simple! And as much as I smirk thinking about my younger self and God, given a rough wake-up call or an unexpected bill or an untraceable, unstoppable smoke detector beepbeepbeep, I’d react a little less sweetly. “So my car insurance payment … meaningful connection … healing and peace … are … in God’s hands? Hmm, interesting.”
But as valid as this snark might feel, if I sit with it, I usually realize I’m singing the song out of tune — from a place of anxious attachment, not sincere gratitude or authentic trust. In times like these, I find I’m keeping tabs on the situations and people I’ve apparently surrendered into God’s care.
I’m singing the song, but I’m waiting for a couple things to shake out before I drop XYZ completely into God’s palm. Which sounds like a rational, measured way to live. That is — until I find myself with more than I can carry, catch a sporadic case of the Mondays and drop the proverbial ball.
Rinse and repeat.
Thinking about the different ways I’ve related to this deceptively simple song, though, I see both experiences as valuable. Unquestioned attachment makes us into insecure performers. But chronic distrust can keep us from experiencing authentic love and confidence-building care.
More than an applicable moral or life lesson, I’d leave you with the challenge: notice the emotions, the thoughts or even the facial expressions that come to mind today as we remember together that the whole world is in God’s hands. At the very least, self-awareness has rarely hindered true worship.