Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
“The traffic on Westlake is crazy,” Leslie told me. “They’re doing some construction as you near Mercer Avenue. So beware.”
I was driving to meet Leslie across town, and she’d just passed through the same streets where I was starting to travel.
“Thanks for the heads up.”
Did this little bit of info matter? Surprisingly, yes! I didn’t get uptight wondering what was happening. Instead, I took a round about way and felt like I’d performed a magic trick.
It’s amazing what a little information can do to help you navigate your day – sometimes literally.
Psychologists call it “cognitive control.”
And it’s a fact: knowing what to expect gives you power. With even a small bit of information about a situation we feel more in control and have better outcomes than those who don’t have the information.
Hope means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is a willingness to let God do it in his way and in his time. – Eugene Peterson
Consider a simple experiment conducted on women entering a supermarket. Each group of women was given a long shopping list on which they were to select the most economical purchase in the store for each item.
One group was told, “While you are carrying out the task, the store may become crowded. So if you feel a little anxious while you’re shopping, that may be why.” That was it. That’s all the added information they received.
The other group of shoppers didn’t get this information. But that little piece of knowledge seemed to make a big difference.
The informed group got more shopping items correct, was more satisfied with the store, and felt the experience was comfortable.
The uninformed group felt stressed, missed items on their list, and didn’t like the experience.
Having information about a situation, this study and many others have shown, frees people from “searching for explanations” and empowers them to give their attention and energy to the task.
This scenario pales in comparison to the knowledge God wants us to have – the information he provides for giving us the upper hand in life.
He says it plainly: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). You can expect it. Problems rain on all of us. Nobody gets through this life without troubles.
“I have told you this,” he says, “so that in me you may have peace.”
In other words, by knowing what to expect, we have “cognitive control” that brings about direction, focus, strength and contentment. We can find peace in spite of our troubles, knowing that God is giving us direction.
As Paul says in I Corinthians (1:9): “God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.”