by Cathee Poulsen
To be honest, I’ve been struggling all day with how to word what I want to say in this post. I’m not so sure I want to “say” anything as much as I hope to provoke you to think. Deeply. To question the party line.
I hear it all the time: “Don’t worry. God is in control. It will all work out.”
We’ve heard it. We’ve most likely said it. But what about the person who just got a leukemia diagnosis? What about the pregnant mom who got test results that indicate her unborn child has a 70% chance of Down’s Syndrome? What about the husband who just saw a text pop up on his wife’s phone? The one she left on the kitchen counter when she went out to get the groceries from the car. “Meet me again tonight? Same place?”
To answer these circumstances by saying, “Don’t worry. God is in control. It will all work out,” is quite frankly not acceptable. It seems a refusal to acknowledge the complexities of life. A pat answer that brings no encouragement or even truth.
Can We Give These Situations the Answer They Deserve?
Isn’t God in control? Yes — in one sense. He’s the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. He has power and authority to stop the earth’s rotation if He should so choose. But when we examine the stories of people facing all kinds of dilemmas in the scriptures, do we see God controlling the outcome of people’s lives?
I don’t think we do. Here’s what we see:
- He is present
- He is able to work circumstances to our benefit
- He never stops loving us
- He is relentlessly kind
- He reveals aspects of His nature through our difficulties
- He can identify with our pain, whatever kind it is
How Much is Up to Us?
But He doesn’t control what happens, or our response, or even the outcomes. And He doesn’t control people. He is ever-present to provide wisdom and counsel when we ask and He sustains us from start to finish. He teaches us how to walk through deep waters with both joy and peace because we are in a process of being changed. These difficulties are the very things that change us.
The mother who gives birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome will often tell you how grateful she is that she has the privilege to raise her beautiful child. The sister to that child will grow up with a compassion unattainable had she not had that sibling in her life.
In that sense, God is working these situations for good, but He’s not controlling them. I think it not wise to spout off that phrase to anyone. God’s mercy never fails and His grace doesn’t run out, but we have the power of choice and we live with the consequences of that choice. A lot of the outcome is up to us. That mother could choose to abort her baby and the outcome would be entirely different – and not just for her.
As we approach the last few days before we elect a new president, emotions, fears, hopes and predictions run high. And from time to time, someone is bound to say, “Oh, don’t worry about it. God is in control and it will all work out.”
We are still a nation who elects the people in office. Despite rumors of voter fraud, conspiracies and such, we probably get what we ask for collectively.
But this I know for sure, God is with us, He hears our prayers, and He has no intention of abandoning us if our candidate doesn’t win. It is up to us to stand for what is decent and just and good. We have a voice and we each have a sphere of influence. Let’s be faithful to cry out against injustice and to do what’s right and good.
We can take comfort from these two scriptures and what they infer:
He (GOD) changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. Daniel 2:21 (Holman)
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. Romans 13:1 (NASB)
No matter the outcome, our God is with us, His love never ceases, and our confidence is in Him. Our assignment always, is to convey to those who watch us, that we walk in the peace of that truth. Besides… we have dual citizenship, and His kingdom will always trump this one. (No pun intended).