Tough Questions ~ Part 2 : Is God In Control?
My previous article touched on “Why things happen.” This article is going to look at why we can take comfort in the thought that “Our God is in control.”
How many of you have heard the following song? I get a lot out of it each time I hear it. Take some time and really read through these few lyrics.
His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy, (I sing because I’m happy.)
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
This song was written with this passage from Matthew in mind, and if you venture over to Luke you can also find it there.
Matthew 10:29-31 (ASV)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father: 30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
What’s the chorus of this song say? The chorus of this song says… “I SING because I am happy!!! (TWICE) Why is this person singing after tragedy? Because the Lord of Hosts is in control of all and sees all, that’s why. The thought being conveyed is that if God sees every sparrow fall and knows the number of hairs on our head, then what in the world are we doing fretting over anything? BUT!!! BUT!!! BUT!!! (The almighty but.) “BUT, nothing this tragic has every happened to anyone like this before!” BUT, is where the “flesh” steps in and starts making excuses as to why we cast our eyes on the circumstance and not on Jesus. When we take our eyes off of Jesus and start focusing on our circumstances the Devil moves in and starts to work on guilt, sorrow, anger, etc.
Now, I’ll be the first to confess that I fall down and fail miserably, repeatedly. I stand amazed at God’s patience and forgiveness for us. It’s like Paul says in scripture that he knows what is right, but can’t do it. He finds himself doing things that he doesn’t want to do and cries out who will save me? We fallen humans all listen, some more than others, to that “fleshly side” of our being instead of looking and listening to what our faith tells us. And this failure runs through all parts of our life: health, finances, relationships, bad habits, etc.
Do We Believe That GOD Is In Control?
Probably one of the few foundational questions that we ask that demands an answer. We sing songs like “Mighty To Save, Amazing Grace, Our God Is An Awesome God, 10,000 Reasons and shout AMEN! And To those songs and many more I say, rightly so. Then we get kinda emotional, weepy and reflective at church, in our car, and at home as the songs play again and we listen to the lyrics. These songs empower us and we decide to step out in faith and agree to follow God. So here we are, trusting and walking along that Christian road and step off the curb….WHAM!!! A Mack truck runs over us. Do we degenerate into a backsliding mess? Do we take a step or two back and rethink this faith thing? Do we fall back into the flesh trying to sort out the “Why me?” questions? All these responses are legit to we who are in a fallen state. I’ve been down those roads and I am sure you have too. (Confession is good for the soul.)
I’m not in any way telling you that Christianity is an easy journey, because it is not. It’s easy to write this stuff and quote scripture to someone stuck in a valley. It’s easy to sing songs and stand in the company of believers and shout Amen. It’s even easy to tell people good spiritual advice. But it’s hard to push on when it’s you in the midst of that storm.
Soapbox Time! A Plug For Salvation!
Saints, we had all better recognize our enemy and understand that when you get saved all hell will come at you. You put yourself on the enemy’s radar. The thing Satan wants to destroy is your trust in God, and he will use anything he can to destroy that trust. God is looking for people who will trust Him and for that trust God grants them grace. It’s not your works, but your trust God wants. You do the trusting and He does the grace thing. What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. You can’t do anything to earn it. It’s a free gift that God chooses to bestow on people. The Biblical formula for salvation is simple. With the heart you believe and with your mouth you proclaim your salvation. God sees your heart and knows if your heart is as it should be. Then baptism usually follows.
I’m gonna level with you and tell you straight up – that’s all you have to do. I’m not like some “funkamentalists” who calls into question people’s salvation and will frustrate the grace of God. We can’t see the heart and therefore cannot make the call on salvation. There is no litmus test you have to go through and no spiritual measuring stick that the church has that you have to live up to. Does that mean you get to go out and sin like crazy? Yes, you would be covered by grace, but that’s not God’s will. Paul put’s that idea out there, but explains this whole idea of sinning and grace. God’s power will change you and you will find that old nature dying daily. When you are saved the power that raised up Christ is placed in you. That’s the change agent. It’s not the local church board or the members of the church cutting and whacking on you that effects change. More people have been turned off by the church exhibiting that kind of behavior. If they are acting in the capacity of God then they are in the wrong, even if they think they are doing right.
I was blessed to be brought up in a family who discussed, chewed up, spit out, rolled around, argued, etc., things like this. I was also blessed to have been taught by a pastor, Dr. Gene Scott. I know what the Bible says. It says we have to “faithe” these teachings and step out in faith and trust God. It’s the ABCs of Faith. Action, based on Belief, sustained by Confidence that when God says something He’ll do it. Hang your body on it, and even run the risk of dying not obtaining the promise on this side of eternity. But you will over there.
Back To Being Stressed Out.
If the world is treating us good, and we have no stress, then we follow this Bible pretty well. When the storms come and the waves swell, and those waves start lapping up over the side of the boat, then we, like the apostles, start yelling and screaming for Jesus. And His response is always something about having “little faith,” because we forget in the dark what is learned in the light. You don’t really trust Him. You see friend, to God, there is nothing new under the sun. People have been losing loved ones, getting sick, becoming poor, losing possessions, divorcing spouses, etc. You name it and it has happened. So while the pain is unique to you or me, it’s not to God. He’s been in the process of reviving, healing, enriching and returning lost possessions since you or I existed. Why don’t we take strength in that? Why can’t we have faith in His word and simply trust that what He says He will do?
What We Can Do Is Trust.
Numbers 23:19 (ASV)
God is not a man, that he should lie, Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and will he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good?
My Bible tells me that God said He would take care of me no matter what and I’m not to worry one bit. It also tells me that all the apostles faced death with an eye toward the Father and “certainness” in their step. In fact, we should stare those tragedies in the eye and look up because our redemption draws nigh. Non-believers are watching to see how you respond. Is there a time for sorrow? Sure. But then we have to do like David and wash our faces and keep going. We aren’t supposed to weep and moan continually, because we have the blessed assurance that we will see our saved loved ones again.
If you are going to be a Christian, then be one. We are supposed to be the light of the world, not the dark pit of despair. When someone asks you why this or that happened, you can say, I don’t know why God allowed this to happen, but He knew it would happen. He’s right there with you, because He said I will never leave you nor forsake you, and you can trust in that. I am going to be praying for you and will help you all I can. Remember that God promised He would take tragedy and turn it into something good.
If you are a Christian, then claim the following as your promise. If you are reading this and are not a Christian, then all I, or any other believer, can do is offer to help and pray you find Jesus, because you don’t get that promise.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
It’s the called that get that promise. Sorry. If you are not of the “ones who love God and are called according to his purpose” then you are going to have to rely on your selves and the good will of others, believers and non.
“Well that’s not right! A good God won’t let suffering go on in the world. He’d heal all and end evil.”
The answer to that … in “Tough Questions ~ Part 3” next week!!!
See you then. Grace & Peace.
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