IS GOD REALLY IN CONTROL?
Every Christian, without exception, is a purchased being. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
As such, we are subject to His good will and pleasure and have no right to complain. He is sovereign. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” Phi 2:13-14 .
We live in a body of flesh, and we oft abuse it. We eat too much. We eat the wrong things. We push ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally, until we are damaged. Parents and others often pass on to their children the consequences of their ignorance (even eating Grits can have some consequences).
We inherit things from our parental lineage that may go back generations. Sometimes, those things are not “good.” We may inherit something “bad” that might bring us pain in life, or may even cause death.
But, that does not mean that God is unable to use that person. It does not mean that God’s will in that person’s life is somehow disabled. God’s will for that person has not been derailed. Even if they die, God’s will is accomplished.
Here’s a partial answer as to why.
First of all, we view disabilities far different than does God. We view them as disabling and as hindering us in life. God looks at all of His children as being useful and capable of bearing fruit. Paul understood this when he spoke of his thorn in the flesh. (2 Cor. 12:7-10). God declared to him that His grace was sufficient and that His strength is actually made “perfect” in weakness. Paul viewed the "thorn in the flesh" as disabling and diminishing his ability to minister. It was, to him, a distraction. But, God showed Paul that it actually was beneficial to him, and that without it, he (Paul) would become proud, which would certainly have hurt his ministry.
Thus, paradoxically, Christians who are weakened in the flesh can actually be stronger in the faith than those of amongst us who are, in the flesh, vibrant and not beset with any of the fleshly frailties of lesser mortals. You see, when the flesh is weakened, that sense of self-reliance that besets all of us, diminishes. We become dependent upon God. We recognize we are weak.
There have been so many Christians who have demonstrated that lesson Paul teaches. I think, for example, of blind Helen Keller. A more modern example is Joni Eareckson Tada. The summer after graduation from High School, she was permanently injured in a diving accident. She was only 17 years of age. The accident broke her neck and left her a quadriplegic. Today, after years of struggle with her injuries, she has a thriving ministry and is one of the best illustrations I know of the truth of 2 Cor. 9:8. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
The other part of the equation is this: God has set down laws within His world, laws we sometimes call “Laws of Nature,” or of physics. Bottom line is: God made those laws. And, absent direct, miraculous intervention, God’s laws are obeyed. Thus, His will is accomplished.
For example, if I abuse my body with alcohol, I will suffer consequences. Those consequences will be those built into God’s laws, thus effecting His will. Now, His expressed will is that we not sin by abusing our bodies. But, if we choose to ignore His directives, then we pay a price. That is shown clearly in the biblical passage beginning at Leviticus 26 and in the prayer Solomon gave before the people in 1 Kings 8:22-61. God clearly gives choices and clearly lays out consequences. Even so, there exist consequences of our own actions.
So then, we can affect the physical well-being of our children and their children through generations, through our actions. But, even though we sin, He is faithful. It does not mean we or our children cannot fulfill His ultimate purpose, to wit: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Col. 1:10. God often takes the life of a child in order to reshape the life of a parent. God often takes burdens we have as parents and slips into the yoke beside us, revealing His great power and love to bear those burdens, thereby growing our faith.
We must always remember that we belong to God. We are a work in progress. As the Scriptures say so eloquently: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10.
We may suffer in this life. Our children may suffer. But, that does not mean that we cannot glorify God with out lives. (1 Pet. 5:10). And we must realize that Jesus paid a price whose value cannot be measured for us. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Pet. 1:18-19. Therefore, since we belong to Christ, and since we are a work of God in progress, whether we suffer or whether we struggle in life, or whether we die, God’s will is accomplished.
And that is good.
I recently had open heart surgery. If I’d died on the operating table, that would have been good (did I hear a few Amens?). But seriously, it would have been good, because I belong to God. I have no right to complain about what He does with a property belonging to Him. All that God does is good. Christ has the power of life and death. It would have been a sad time for many. But, I’d have been in a better place and rejoicing. So, even in death, it would have been good, though not from a purely human perspective.
Our perspective must be a biblical one, else we will create so many problems within and so many frustrations. We must look, for example, at our children and consign them to God. We must insure that they grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We must seek to give them proper nourishment, care, attention and all that God enables us to do for them that is good. But, ultimately, it is God’s decision as to what to do with those lives. We have to realize that nothing is impossible with God.
If God chooses to take that child, God is still good. His wisdom and will is still perfect. He makes no mistakes. And, if God chooses to use that child in spite of infirmities and weakness, that is good, too. God is not hampered nor hindered with our fleshly weakness. His strength is demonstrated in our weakness, not our strength.
Finally, it is often the case that where hardships come into the lives of our children, we respond in faith. We see our faith and reliance in God grow. Seeing with the eyes of God can be difficult for us. Certainly, Joseph did not relish his lot in life as a slave. But, he could not see with the eyes of God. He could not see the need for him to suffer. We look at our children and see them with difficulties in life and wish we had a magic wand. We’d wave it and utter: “Begone!”
Well, God has that kind of power. But, just because He has allowed His laws to operate without a miraculous suspension of them in our case does not mean He is not good, nor does it mean He is not in control. I like what Larry Burkett said in his book “Damaged But Not Broken,” written about a year after he discovered he had a cancer that ultimately proved fatal.
He said: “I don’t care who you are, when you come face-to-face with death, it takes time simply to grasp the stark reality of your mortality....God does indeed promise that He will love and care for us, but He does not in any way promise to keep us from all the harms of this world. After all, we are mortal beings, living in a sin-fallen world. It may well be that God will elect to reach down and touch an individual and keep him or her from all harm, but I have long since concluded that if God didn’t do it for His own apostles, very likely He might not do it for me.”
And so it is.
The mindset we have concerning God and belonging to Him is so very important. My body, my soul, and all that I am, belongs to God. I am under His power and control. Whether I live or die, I belong to God, to do with as He sees fit. Therefore, I have no grounds for complaint. And while I may indeed complain, since we are flesh and subject to the whimsical emotions that beset us, including fear, I cannot complain legitimately.
I absolutely must keep coming back to this: God loves me. I am a child of God. I am His property. All that God does is good. God never loses control. God is never a victim of circumstances. And, unlike children who toss a toy into a corner and cease to play with it, God never loses what belongs to Him. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from God or from His love. (Romans 8:35-29). He does not forget us, even if He laid us on a bed of sorrow and sickness. He will provide all that we need, when we need it, and how we need it.
Our problem is, God don't always see eye to eye with us on this.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (21) Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” --Heb 13:20-21
Copyright 2008 Voyle A. Glover
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