God is in Control, Part 2
Here is where we left off…….
Real life is complicated and does not lend itself to simple explanations. Circumstances and events aren’t always possible to reconcile with our sense of justice. Sometimes we might never know why things happen. Why do people suffer? Why are there terrible, destructive natural disasters? Why do people act in ways that are damaging not only to themselves, ruining their own life, but also ruining the lives of people around them? People they love. The list of questions seems never-ending. Often these questions lead us to what is in fact our fundamental question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Hey that would be a great book title.
Be honest. Aren’t we really asking, “Why does God (if He exists) allow these calamities to happen?” Experience has taught me that fervently chasing and demanding an understandable resolution when there is none becomes very dangerous and comes with grave consequences. Good news. There is a surefire way avoid these pitfalls.
So we continue…..
Life is at times tough. As Mister Rogers observed, “Sometimes things don’t go right in the neighborhood.” When that happens, we want to make sense of “things”. So naturally we begin to ask questions. To be sure, it is important for us to ponder these difficult questions. However, in a search to find and understand these often-unknowable answers, we must at some point be willing to accept the fact there are many trials in our life that are indecipherable. We are talking about those questions that frequently begin with the word “WHY”. In those instances, “I don’t know” is the best answer. I am not advocating intellectual suicide. Or lazy indifference. Or stoic fatalism. But, in our determination to disentangle life’s mysteries, serious theological errors can easily take place. We can create a god in our own image. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “My God would never…”? Or have you met people who declared the “my God would never do that” proposition? By asserting that claim, he/she robs God of His supremacy, steals His sovereignty, diminishes His authority and strips Him of His glory.
When life is inexplicable, perhaps out of misplaced loyalty, we feel an obligation to protect God’s reputation. Relax, God doesn’t need our protection. God does not need a defense attorney. Ecclesiastes 7:14 reads, “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made one as well as the other.” (NASB)
Consider Exodus 4:11, “Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?” (NLT)
This email was prompted by the classes I am studying as well as something I recently read. In my reading the topic was joy. An author was suggesting how you go about finding and maintaining personal joy. She offered many practical steps. But she also “raised a few red flags.” She identified the attempt to understand suffering, hardship and trials as “joy robbers.” “Stoptrying to discover why” she wrote…”some answers are not to be found this side of heaven. Accept that God is in control.”
There is the answer…. GOD IS IN CONTROL.
The answer to confusion and fear is faith. Throughout the Bible God reveals His wisdom to us. There many examples--here is one. In Psalm 46:10 The Lord directs us to “Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God.” The footnote in my Bible tells me that word “cease” means to let go. Relax. Be calm. Trust me. It is a belief and trust in our God. Milton Vincent writes:
"For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me." (The Gospel Primer)
What you know trumps what you feel. So, what is it you know? What does the Bible teach us? When we dive into the Scriptures we come face to face with the God who is in absolute control. He is sovereign. He does as He pleases to accomplish His purposes. He is not an indifferent, detached passive Deity, but He is actively involved in our lives. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we knowthat God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose….” Next to that verse in my Bible I have written the word FACT. That chapter continues by describing God’s love for us and His promise to be our constant Guide, Provider, and Protector. Those are His promises to you. Promises He will keep. He is yourShepherd and you shall not want. You have and will have everything you need.
So our assignment is to search the Scriptures and discover what God says we can know: The facts. Begin to compile a list of those facts. Commit them to memory. Hide His promises in your heart. Pour over them again and again. Meditate on his statutes day and night. Treasure them. Then when you encounter life’s challenges remember the wonderful promises made by an immutable God to the children He loves. The old hymn reduces it to a simple refrain: “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than trust and obey.”
Years ago, a friend sent me a framed plaque. Sandy has strategically positioned that picture on a bookshelf so every morning when I walk out the bedroom I have a daily reminder. It says, “Tom, Trust Me I Have Everything Under Control. Jesus.”
“Talk” again soon.