In These Unprecedented Times...Is God In Control?
The question of God and control seems to be more important today than ever before.
People are looking for truth.
I think they are starving for it, actually.
They are looking for answers in a sea of confusion that bombards them daily through the news, their social media feeds, and in their everyday conversations.
As events around the world continue to leave us wondering when we will return to a sense of normalcy, the idea that God is pulling the strings, the question of His sovereign role, seems to have slipped off the radar.
I mean – is it really part of God’s plan for us to not be able to hug each other, to share a meal, or sit close with one another in a coffee shop like we used to? Come on, everyone knows God invented coffee, and for this reason, right?
The God is in control catchphrase seems to have disappeared from people’s lips.
Living in the Bible Belt, I cannot tell you how many times I would hear “don’t worry, God is in control.” Sometimes I would hear it multiple times a day and it could be said many ways.
“God’s got this.”
Or, my favorite, “God has a plan.”
But I do not hear those phrases very much these days.
Could it be that the lie of sovereign control is beginning to be exposed on such a grand scale that it has become harder to swallow? Is it possible this phrase is being so exposed in these unprecedented times that it is finally ringing hollow?
Could it be that the pain, loss, and heartbreak swirling us daily has caused much of the evangelical church to finally question the desperate idea that a good God is behind it all? Does He really control events like a grand puppeteer with some future purpose in mind that we can only understand once the pain is over? Is He a good God or is He in control?
Could it be that there is so much confusion and uncertainty that we just cannot bring ourselves to believe that God is the author of it all?
For myself, I gave up the idea that God is in control over two years ago.
I no longer pray to God and plead with him to intervene in events. As if a certain prayer, or a certain number of prayers, or a certain type of prayer would cause Him to move from some lofty place and wipe away all the suffering.
I no longer think God’s relationship with humanity works like that.
Can I be real?
We are living in a time of great suffering.
Great physical, mental, and emotional suffering.
Families are dividing based on whether they wear a mask or not.
There is anxiety, and fear in our day to day life like never before.
Any empathy displayed for an oppressed group of people is resulting in lost friendships.
People who ask questions or submit a different opinion contrary to the mainstream narrative are being shamed for doing so.
I do not claim to have the right answers, but there is one thing I know that gives me tremendous hope.
The Abba of Jesus cares deeply for His children; all His children.
And if He was “in control” as many people believe He is, then Abba would never allow what is happening to take place for some other, hidden purpose. What kind of father would do that to his children?
So, maybe now, in light of our painful circumstances, it’s time to discuss what we believe about the nature of God’s sovereignty, His goodness.
As we sit around our dinner tables, as we gather at the beach for family vacations, and as we debate with friends and family what we are going to do in the Fall, I encourage you to bring up the control question.
Do you really believe God is in control of all of this?
Or is there a better story?
Is there a better way of thinking about God?
Could it be true that God is so good and so loving that He would never control any of His children?
Could it be true that God is standing with us at this very moment, inviting us to partner with Him in the redemption of all things?
Could it be true that God really is like Jesus; a friend who is never controlling but always empowering, always washing feet, always bringing freedom to the oppressed, always exposing the lies that hold us back from being our true selves and from seeing who God really is?
What if the time has come for us to replace the phrase “God is in control” with a new thought?
One filled with hope.
One that invites our participation.
One that sounds like love.
Maybe something like this…
Fear not, for God is with us.
I’m going to give that a try. Maybe it will stick.
And maybe you can join me and maybe we will awaken as a human race to the truth that God has always been with us, is with us now, and will always be with us in the future.
I think Jesus said something about that.
Stephen Jackson is a father of three who lives with his beautiful bride Heather in the mountains of southwest Virginia where he is learning to live as fully embraced by the Father, Son, and Spirit. Stephen is an aspiring writer, voracious reader, passionate sports enthusiast, and Kingdom culture builder with hopes and dreams of helping others come alive to the beauty of who they are and who the Abba of Jesus is! And like everyone else, he is a pilgrim on the incredible journey of life.
You can connect with Stephen on Instagram
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