Everything Is Under Control (But By Who?)

Everything Is Under Control (But By Who?) May 22, 2019

 

In my own personal spiritual development, the idea that God is in control (and that I am not) has been a great source of comfort for me. By that, I mean God is my King and I have surrendered my life to Christ’s rule and reign. So, rather than worry about tomorrow – something I have absolutely zero control over – I can enjoy peace of mind and rest in the comforting assurance that God is in control and that God will take care of my needs as they come.

However, I have a good friend who just recently posted something that runs completely against this notion, saying: “Thank goodness God is NOT in control!”

That made me do a double-take, to be honest. But, after thinking through his statement, I can understand – sorta – where he is coming from.

What he means is that God is not in control of every minor detail of life. This means that God does not bring disease, calamity, struggle or sickness into my life to test me or to teach me something. God is not the originator of pain or suffering. God is not micro-managing the Universe.

So, in this sense, my friend is relieved to know that God is not cruel and God is not randomly dispensing blessings to one set of people and suffering to another set.

My comfort is that God is in control of providing for me as I continually rest and trust and seek first the Kingdom of God.

My friend’s comfort is that God is not in control of every detail of our lives or orchestrating scenarios where some suffer and others are comforted.

Not that any of this is completely seamless. I’m not sure either of us could completely reconcile our experiences, or our paradigms together in any consistent way. But, in some strange way, at least for me, I can see where both are true.

God does not cause suffering, but God walks with us through our suffering and does use that experience for our good.

God also provides for us daily as we continually rely on God’s care for us and trust in Him.

Does that make sense to you?

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

Join me this summer at one of these upcoming events:

*El Paso, TX – May 19 “United We Stand”

*Costa Mesa, CA – June 22 “United We Stand”

*Hot Springs, NC – July 11-14 “Wild Goose Festival”

Want Keith to come speak at your church or in your home town? Learn more HERE

 

"Okay Keith, what was the trigger that has my reply to Jesse in "Pending"?"

Christians Go To Hell [Just Like ..."
"Seventy time seven. Middie, you're defensive in your church trained talking points. Of the two ..."

Christians Go To Hell [Just Like ..."
"Christ saved me from the vapid, self-congratulatory, death that you describe. Saved me from joining ..."

Christians Go To Hell [Just Like ..."
"Middie, Caiaphas would have said the same thing. Caiaphas, as the high priest, had only ..."

Christians Go To Hell [Just Like ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Your blog reminds me of some thoughts I had on my blog a little bit ago, about how people see issues of God’s sovereignty through different lenses as a matter of preference, and how our “love language” with God often shapes our theology on this topic. For you, the idea that God is in control was comforting; for others, it is horrifying. Thus you were at home with a theology that others could never embrace, while others are at home with the opposite theology that some might find equally terrifying, in reverse. For further explanation:

    Here’s the link: https://allthingsareyours.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/coping-with-pain-theologically/

  • bill wald

    I agree that God doesn’t micro-manage every atom in the universe but my Guardian Angel takes good care of me.

    On the other hand, there is no way to test if this universe has a “real” physical existence in a “real space/location. Might we only exist in the mind of God? If God took a nap, would everything disappear?

    Worse, Job chapter 1 seems to describe this world as a computer game between God and Satan. Maybe we only exist as a computer program on a hard drive.

    But like you, I quit worrying about things beyond my control and which I can’t ever understand. Jesus is quoted as saying that our obligation is to respect God and work at being good neighbors (my translation).

  • I don’t think of it as God not in control; God isn’t controlling. God doesn’t control evil. God doesn’t control which candidate gets the job or who gets the parking space.

  • soter phile

    God doesn’t control evil? oh well. so much for the whole book of Job.

  • soter phile

    Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?
    Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?
    (Lam.3:37-38)

    “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty,
    then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.” – RC Sproul

  • Jay Hinkelman

    So, basically, Sproul is willing to put his own comfort over the liberty and dignity of others?

  • Jay Hinkelman

    I don’t think it’s so much a computer game *between* them as God playing the latest version of Civilization, with Satan standing over God’s shoulder saying, “You’re never gonna keep that going, you’re doing it all wrong” because he’s actually jealous of God’s PS8.

  • billwald

    I think that, thanks to human nature, our concept of god controls all our thinking, even atheists. Sometimes I wish that I had been raised Catholic. It is an easy and comforting religion. God grades on a curve. The Church does the thinking. The priest does the forgiving, and as long as I am a middle class sinner, the thought of Purgatory is comforting.

  • soter phile

    you said: put his own comfort over the liberty & dignity of others?

    Sounds like you think human freedom is infinitely more valuable than God’s promises.
    Jesus expresses the exact opposite sentiment.

    Anyone who sins is a slave to sin…
    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
    (Jn.8:32,34)

    Never mind that the abuse of such human ‘freedom’ is what enslaved us in the first place.

  • soter phile

    So God answers to Sid Meiers?

  • Jay Hinkelman

    No, I think human dignity and free will is more valuable than Sproul’s Calvinism-twisted need for reassurance. How you got what you got from what I said is a mystery best left unsolved.

  • Jay Hinkelman

    Heh — no, but that’s an amusing picture.

  • soter phile

    Yep, easier to blame Sproul than Jesus. (…except both are saying the same thing.)
    Whoops, baby & bathwater.

    Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mk.12:24)

  • bill wald

    Doesn’t compute. Two reasons:

    God created this universe with random factors and “organic” evolution. Is is His lab experiment.

    God doesn’t make promises. God makes contracts with individual people.

  • bill wald

    The books isn’t finished until Hell freezes over.

  • Jay Hinkelman

    Yep, easier to blame Sproul than Jesus. (…except both are saying the same thing.)

    I disagree entirely.

  • KontraDiction

    This really doesn’t make sense to me, sorry. God provides for you, supplying the things you need day by day, but he’s not responsible for the bad things that happen? I’m not talking about the evil acts of other people – that’s free will & it’s on us. I’m talking about natural disasters, disease, that kind of thing. I don’t see why God’s off the hook for bad events, but still gets credit for the good ones? I mean, I’m pretty comfortable, but how would I ever explain a kind and loving God to a starving child, wasting away from malaria? Where’s the day to day providing for him? God either provides for us all, or he’s just not involved or trustworthy. Anyone?

  • soter phile

    Apart from me you can do nothing… (Jn.15:5)
    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go forth and bear much fruit. (Jn.15:16)

    Silly Jesus. Doesn’t he know Jay Hinkelman is the architect of his own salvation?
    Never mind Php.1:6 or Php.2:12-13 or Heb.12:2 or Jn.10:27-29 or basically all of Eph.1…
    And then there’s Rom.3:10-18… but surely that’s not about all of us, right? v.9…

    Biblical freedom isn’t Western individualistic ‘freedom’ of choice; it’s obedience.
    And obedience is only possible through grace – over-riding our self-enslaved hearts.

  • soter phile

    a) which god are you describing? because you are directly at odds with the God presented in the Bible. ‘random’ is a word for finite minds, not the Infinite One. Much less a lab experiment with an unforeseen outcome – as though God himself were subject to time? So much for transcendence.

    b) again: even a cursory glance here demonstrates hundreds (if not thousands) of promises in the Bible (2 Cor.1:20 comes to mind). and note well: the grammar is most often plural – especially in regard to his people. claiming otherwise – certainly if referring to the Bible – is a denial of the overt teaching of the text.

  • bill wald

    OK, Should not used “promises.” The God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. We have “proof texts” that backup every texual claim but put them all together and the spell “DON’T COMPUTE.” For example, Acts 5:1-11. Ananias walked into church and dropped dead because he lied to the Holy Spirit. Three hours later, Sapphira walked into the church and dropped dead because she lied to the Holy Spirit.

    In the rest of the NT, no one else drops dead because he lied to the Holy Spirit. In the next 2,100 years, there are no verified reports of anyone dropping dead because they lied to the Holy Spirit. What should I have concluded about lying to the Holy Spirit.

    After 70 years of thinking about God, I have concluded that I don’t know anything about God because God is “totally other” and we don’t have any need to know. “God” is a generic name that can be applied to any god. When our god first talked to Moses, he refused to tell Moses his name. “I Am what I am” is not a proper name but a polite way of refusing to give a name.

    In most ancient cultures, knowing someone’s real name gave you some kind of mystical power over the person.That tradition is mentions several times in Tony Hillerman’s stories about the Navajo People.

    Jesus’ teachings, birth, life, and death tell tell us all we need to know about God. Jesus taught us all we need to know about the Law of God is to love God and one’s neighbors as one’s self.

    I “believe in” every statement in the Bible but don’t claim to understand it. All I know “for sure” is that I am to love God to the best of my ability and to work at loving my neighbors . . . whatever “love means.” It is a very complex word.

  • Summers-lad

    That would be one extraordinarily powerful molecule!