What image does the phrase: “God is in control” conjure up for you? Some of us hear it so often we don’t pause to reflect on the implication anymore. I’ve used that phrase on many occasions, and often flippantly. But recently, I had reason to pause and think about what it meant in my situation. As I did, some Bible verses on this subject took on new light for me. It was an experience that shifted my paradigm and reminded me of the value of meditating on Scripture day and night [Joshua 1:8]. As I’m realising, when we grasp certain truths about the God of the Bible, they alter our reality.
The book of Hebrews makes an astounding assertion when it declares: “(Jesus) sustains the universe He created by His word” [John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2-3]. If you’re into astronomy as much as I am, it’s impossible not to be wowed by that statement. Our universe is unimaginably big, with trillions of celestial bodies and billions of galaxies. Yet, these passages inexplicably imply that God animates every material and spiritual thing in it, and they would cease to exist if He didn’t. If He only did that for every living thing on earth, it would still be awe-inspiring; but to do that for the whole universe is beyond comprehension. That you’re reading this is an exhibition of the truth in those passages in Hebrews and John, and the psalmist reminds us that fact alone is sufficient reason to praise God [Psalm 150:6].
Our planet is infinitesimal even within our galaxy, let alone the universe. So, it would be easy to dismiss one human being as negligible in the grand scheme of creation. Many may hold this view, but the Bible doesn’t. Jesus, no less, makes astonishing statements like: “not one bird dies without the knowledge of our heavenly Father” [Matthew 10:29] or “God numbers every strand of hair on our heads” [Luke 12:7]. It stands to reason God also oversees every fish, plant, and animal that exists too. While Jesus made these statements to emphasise how precious we are to our heavenly Father, they also illustrate His control over our lives, even the details we don’t know. Furthermore, He isn’t just intimately acquainted with the minutia of the lives of the eight billion humans currently on the planet, but every human being that has ever lived.
My head hurts whenever I attempt to wrap it around these truths. That’s without trying to figure out how God exerts His sovereignty over humankind without violating our free will. Remarkably, He does all these things effortlessly. He’s sat on His throne exerting infinite control over creation, totally unperturbed by the schemes of men or demons, and not fatigued by any of it [Psalm 110, Psalm 121:4, Revelation 4 and 5]. I don’t know what god you worship, but that’s my God, the God of the Bible – the Sovereign One [Psalm 115:3, Jeremiah 32:17]. As I said earlier, something happens when I hold that view of Him as I confront my problems. You can’t subscribe to this view of God and be afraid of men, demons, circumstances and the like. As a preacher once said: “we should only panic if we check heaven and God is missing from His throne”.
As humans, we’re often bad at relinquishing control and probably worse at staying in control. I’d posit that one reason that’s the case is that God didn’t create us with the capacity to run our lives without Him. We inevitably confront our finitude – along with fear and anxiety when we do. How frustrating it must be to encounter a problem money, power, fame, status, accomplishments or acquaintances can’t solve. Yet, therein lies the plight of many who make ungodly sacrifices to achieve these things only to discover they aren’t enough – realising that at best, they only provide the illusion of being in control. How much it must grieve our loving Redeemer when in our foolishness, we push Him aside to play God in our lives.
It’s understandable when the seeming urgency of our circumstances compels us to act desperately. God understands this about us [Hebrews 4:15]. So, He gives us His word – as a guarantee that what might seem like chaos is entirely under His control. So, Scripture is replete with amazing promises like: “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you” [Jeremiah 1:5], “All our days were written in God’s book before we lived one of them” [Psalm 139:16], “If God gave up His only Son for us, what will He not give us” [Romans 8:32], “If you who are evil know how to give your children good gifts, how much more your heavenly Father?” [Luke 11:13], and many more. These passages assert that God knows about our circumstances long before we do, and more importantly, He’s got a plan to bring us through them victoriously.
At the heart of it, trust has a lot to do with control. Often, We seek control because we feel vulnerable without it, and we’re usually vulnerable because a situation is beyond our control or we don’t trust the one in control. As I said earlier, our seeming control over the vagaries of life is an illusion. But there’s one for Whom such control is an effortless reality without limits. He has ultimate power and knows and sees all things. He’s also good, trustworthy and just. But, most importantly, He is for us [Psalm 118:6]. He never compels us to trust Him and will not fight us for control over our affairs. However, if we relinquish control of everything to Him and patiently trust Him – especially in those moments of utter chaos, He will exceed our wildest expectations [Psalm 37:23, Ephesians 3:20]. So, just one question to ponder as I conclude: Are you willing to surrender everything to Jesus?