You’ve heard it before. Maybe it was carelessly thrown out to a person who just experienced loss because…well…they didn’t know what else to say. Or maybe they were words of wisdom to the struggling teen wondering if God has a plan for their life. The statement, “God is in control,” is a wild pitch. When you throw it; you’re not sure where it will land.
You see, there are many things in this world that are contrary to the biblical vision of God’s character, will, and design. Abuse, catastrophe, pain. The vision of heaven is antithetical to this, a resort for souls waiting for God to put the world back to rights again, inaugurated by the second-coming of Jesus. I guess you could say that in this way God is ultimately in control, but in that moment of tragedy things seem so out of control. And they are.
The only sense I can make of this is to say that since there are things that happen contrary to what God ultimately wants, God relinquishes control in some earthly form. But if that quickly leads us to think that God is out-of-control; it’s important to remember that there is a difference between authority and control.
I have authority over my son, whom I love dearly. I thought I could control him…but then this rebel of a 2-year old learned the simple word: “NO.” But it’s OK because I know that through semi-effective parenting, love, and patience he will also say “YES.” And that YES is all the sweeter because he said it when he could have said NO.
While God sits in authority, I think He runs the risk of relenting control so that He might hear the sweet YES ringing in His ears.