Control … or Lack of It


I am not in control of my life. I know this already, of course.  I have been married for 38 years.  I promised to share control of my life with my beloved at the altar of Ascension Lutheran Church, Deer Park in August of 1980.  I am also a baptized child of God, who in being washed in the waters of baptism had promises made on my behalf by my parents, which I gladly (if somewhat naively) accepted on the day of my Confirmation in June of 1973.  I know that my life is not solely my own to live.  But I am struggling with a higher level of control that has been expressed through a new partner in my life … my general surgeon, Dr. Conter.

I do understand that this is a temporary expression of control – a product of post-surgical care for six weeks of my life.  I know this is good for me, and that I have already been the beneficiary of this control in my early recovery.  Hernia surgery is easy-peasy surgery, obviously and rather common.  Roughly twenty-million hernia surgeries occur around the world each year.  So I am not complaining.  My early recovery has gone extremely well so far … I have been a good boy.  I hope to get back in the office a few hours this afternoon and tomorrow, and plan to preach this Sunday.  Dr. Conter’s clear post-op rules and restrictions have made this possible.

But I am struggling with my lack of control.  I watched my Nancy mow the grass yesterday.  My sister & brother-in-law cut it last week.  I do recognize that my lawn is an all-you-can-eat clover buffet for the local bunnies in my neighborhood.  But it is a neat clover buffet through mowing, fertilizing, edging and weed-whacking.  I miss being in control of that.  My current weight-bearing limit is ten pounds, which means I’m basically allowed to pick up a Dixie-cup (so long as it is only half full of water).  I have to weigh the books I read for fear of going over the limit.  Yesterday, I drove for the first time and today I will try some time in the office.  None of these schedules are really mine to manage.

Clearly, I have come down from last week’s devotional mountaintop.  Maybe the Vicadin was doing all the talking last week, who knows.  But this week, though I feel great, my few and limited freedoms feel like they lead me through “the valley of the shadow of death.”  Theologically, I tell myself that this is life in the dialectic world of Law & Gospel … Sin & Grace.  This is the rhythm in which we live in a divine creation that has been compromised by human brokenness.  This is life as a Lutheran.  I am so very grateful for this rhythm, because it defines and informs life.  But I don’t always have to like my occasional loss of control within it, do I?

More on this topic in Sunday’s sermon.  Till then, pray for me and for strength to resist my disobedient spirit.  And I will do the same for you in a world that teases us with the illusion that we can have or do anything we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want, without the accountability that the consequences of such actions bring to us, whether we want it or not.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.


  1. Pastor Ross, I rarely miss reading your
    words of wisdom because it makes me
    think with an inspirational message. Today is no exception, only with an added point which I can relate to on
    a more personal note. The lack of total
    control over what my mind and what my
    Doctor’s stated limits were proved to
    be an internal struggle. I can now say
    it pays to obey. I pushed it a few times,
    and then had to slow down. Today, after
    90 plus days post-op, my Raquetball
    game is back! My Doctor’s advice and with prayer too, life has returned!
    Mike Leisure

    1. Thanks Mike. Your words are a ministry back to me! I am grateful for the counsel you offer and the longer perspective you bring. Thank you!! I am so glad you are getting back to normal again. I look forward to that day, too! For me it will be jogging that indicates a return to normalcy! 🙂


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