How often have you heard someone relate some bad news, and end their remarks with “Well, God’s in control!”? What exactly does that mean? What exactly is the influence of such a concept upon us?
First, many people are trying to offer some encouragement – I get that.
Would we dare say something like that to those Syrians who are marked for torture AND beheading?! It could be somehow doctrinally factual but, is such a statement really helpful?
I think there’s a huge difference between believing/experiencing the sovereignty of God, versus the “God is in control” comment. First, we know that God is Almighty. We also know that God has granted us free will. We also know that bad things can happen to those of us who follow the Lord (2 Timothy 3:12).
Since we are blessed with the full armor of God, are we not to use it?
And before we “use” it, are we not first to have wisdom, love, and discernment among MANY other “prerequisites” like having our minds daily renewed in the Word, fervent prayer, responsibility, accountability, sincerity, integrity, compassion. . . which have much to do with working out our own salvation (Matthew 7:5 & Philippians 2:12) since we have to be potent examples of godliness, repentance, sincere testimony – that Holy Spirit power to inspire others to follow the Way, Truth, and the Life (Romans 14:10). All else is hypocrisy. Dead works.
So, what is the effect upon our psyche when we hear/say those words: God is in control. I believe that it causes resignation, fatalism, and passivity. Just the exact opposite of what we should be doing – in my opinion! If I suffer some mishap, tragedy, or other offense, and a brother says to me: “Take heart, we serve an Almighty God!” Or, “If God is with us, who can be against us!” Or, “His Grace is sufficient for you!” Or, Through His resurrection, Jesus has put ALL THINGS under His feet, and since the Holy Spirit resides in you, all things are brought under your feet!” Or, “We have the victory through Christ Jesus!” Well, these things communicate something TOTALLY different than just throwing up our hands and saying something about how mysterious God is!
Yes, God is a mystery if we don’t know Jesus! We have, should have, the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Meaning that even though we hold this treasure in earthen vessels and look through a dark glass, we have the Holy Spirit AND gifts of the Spirit! We are not under confusion, stumbling in darkness!
Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8)! Obviously, we get blisters if our shoes are too tight – that is not the devil’s fault! My point is hopefully not lost here. Since the will of God is also for us to have life (John 10:10) more abundant ( not to be confused with the “prosperity” false Gospel), we very much need discretion, discernment, spiritual knowledge, and wisdom and all that goes with it to sort out the events of this present life. After all, we are one body (1 Corinthians 10:17), and we need to run the race of life, not as spirit filled individuals, but rather, as one Spirit filled/led team” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
We have the victorious outcome through Jesus Christ! How we arrive there is how we participate with the Lord!
Peace & Maranatha!