Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday's Meditation: Is God in Control?

The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
       but the earth he has given to man. ~ Psalm 115: 16

Several months ago Steve Thompson visited the irenic hills of Kentucky to talk about the Kingdom of God.  During one of his chats, almost as an aside, he observed, “People like to say ‘God is in control.’ I’ve got news for you--he’s not.  If God were in control the world would look a lot different than it does.”  His words have echoed around this place for months.

Some people were scandalized, some were energized.  Steve’s point: we have been told a great many things about God in our lives, but have we examined them to see if they fit with our personal experience?  For example, if Jesus came to proclaim and demonstrate the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom, doesn’t that mean there are places on the earth where God does not rule and reign?  What is the evidence in my own life: is God “in control” of my heart? my thoughts? my actions?  Or perhaps my world: is God in control of my neighborhood or community?  We can extend these same questions further and further outward.

Jesus invited his disciples to participate with him in the mission.  He included them early and often (see Matthew 10, Luke 9, and Luke 10).  He was still inviting and including the disciples even as he prepared to go to the Father:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. ~ Acts 1: 8

Each Monday is an opportunity for meditation.  Perhaps these questions can influence your week:
  • What is my role as an agent of God’s Kingdom?
  • How does my job differ from God’s job?
  • Is God in control?


  1. Thought-provoking, Ray. I'd love to have a dinner conversation with you over this issue.

  2. It's an issue we could discuss for months! It's not just an academic curiosity, either: how we answer the question determines the kind of choices we will make in following Jesus. Peace!

  3. Fascinating. I'd love to hear Dr. Williams' thoughts on the issue.

    Kidding. In all seriousness, we really need to think about how such common cliches impact our work for God's kingdom.


  4. Yeah but cant you see it? God is the beginning and the end, everything is a part of that or part within a whole picture. Everything or whatever it may be whether we see it as good or evil or out of control, it's all a part of what only God knows it's all about. So he is in complete control.

  5. This post is not really about whether God is in control, it's about how we understand the phrase "God is in control." We repeat the phrase without thinking through how God relates to his creation and humanity. (check out the Psalm 115:16 quote at the beginning of the post.) It's about how God partners with us in extending his rule. Also, the final three questions in the post are an attempt to get our attention off of definitions and "theology" and on to how God expects us to partner with him in Kingdom business. Our view of whether--or how--God is in control impacts our life as disciples. He is calling us to partner with him in his reign and rule--or do we think he is responsible to do everything?