Taking the next step when things seem out of control

Sonja Chua // April 26, 2019, 6:56 pm


Giving up full control is not easy. As humans, we like to know that we’re in control of our lives; it gives us security and comfort. However, we forget that there are many things in life that are simply not in our control.

Two recent incidents in my life reminded me of how unpredictable life can be.

One day, I received a call at 5am from my grandfather’s helper who told me that he was unresponsive. It was a rude shock – I was supposed to be at a conference that very day, but I knew I had to attend to my grandfather first. Thankfully I lived nearby.

Aware of his medical history, I suspected that his sugar level was low and would likely need an intravenous sugar drip. I immediately called the ambulance and he was rushed to hospital. Although my grandfather was discharged after one night, this was just the start of more uncertainties that I would face in subsequent months.

What to do when everything goes wrong

While planning for a long-term trip to Israel where I’m going to be for most of this year, I was faced with the realisation that so many things were out of my hands. It was hard enough that I was leaving the comforts of home to travel alone to a country with safety concerns, a different culture and so many unknowns; I also encountered numerous road blocks.

I tried to be efficient by settling things as soon as I could. But the first time I went to the embassy, I was turned away as they said that it was too early for me to submit my application. When I tried to apply for my accommodation, I was told that I needed my supervisor to fill in part of my application.

Even as I waited for my schools (both in Singapore and Israel) to resolve various administrative matters, God reminded me that I was not in control but He was. Eventually, God ensured that all of my trip preparation was settled: I received my visa just 10 days before I was supposed to leave. 

Through situations like these, I learnt how to continue to trust in God and submit to His timing.

Learning to let go

The Bible is littered with stories of how man has always tried to take control of events instead of putting their trust in God. Abraham went ahead to sleep with his wife’s servant, Hagar, even though God had already promised that he would have a son (Genesis 16). Saul thought he could win a battle by giving an unsanctioned sacrifice (1 Samuel 13). David decided to count his fighting men, which led to a plague on Israel (2 Samuel 24). 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV)

I am learning to trust God, no matter what U-turns or diversions may come my way. Since His ways are higher than our ways, we can trust that He is in control. 


  1. Can you recall times when things didn’t go as planned?
  2. How did you respond in those situations?
  3. Is there anything that you’re waiting on God for?