Is God “Really” in Control

Dr. Phil.  Over the last few years have you been wondering how world events fit into the narrative of our own life as well as the bigger narrative of God’s plan? The effects of the pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine with the potential for expanded global conflict, impact us all in some way. From the larger view we have of our own society to the more personal issue of our financial security not to mention the impact on the mental and physical health of many around us.

Perhaps at times you have even wondered if God was really still in control!? Though we as Christians are not supposed to admit to that out loud, if we are to be completely honest, there are times we wonder what is going on and what is God’s plan in all this.

I was revisiting the story of Ruth the other day. As you recall, she goes back to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Tough times, starvation, on top of being an outsider – she was really at the bottom of the societies’ pecking order. You know the story, she is anonymous and just faithfully picking up leftover grain in the field. I am sure it would have been easy for her to question, “Where is this God of Israel that my mother-in-law talked about?” Likely not much help from her as Naomi was depressed and going by the name ‘Mara’ or bitter. From her perspective God had afflicted her and brought misfortune on her. Sound like at any time during your life (if you are brutally honest, I mean)?

Yet, unlike our lives, we know the end of Ruth’s story. From her perspective she was just gleaning in the field, little knowing that in His plans she would become the great grandmother of King David. The fact is that we usually just don’t fully comprehend what God is up to in our lives, let alone in the bigger global context and history what he is doing. Guess that’s what makes him God. He is always playing the long game, never in a rush, never short sighted, so unlike most of us.

Events such as Ukraine and a pandemic, and all the ramifications, can make us feel that we are not in control (which we aren’t!). However those of us from a western worldview really don’t like that. Yet, as we see from Ruth, we can have confidence in the fact that God is ultimately in control, based upon the goodness and faithfulness of his character that never changes. The struggles in life, and events we don’t understand, are not in contradiction with who God is. The story of Ruth teaches us that our response can have a huge impact on future generations.

So even when we don’t understand what God is doing we can gain confidence and peace from the fact that he is not only in control, but we can rely on his love and best interests for us. You may feel like you are just “gleaning” in the field, yet from God’s perspective he has a much bigger plan. One day that will all be clear and will be so complete and above anything we can imagine with our current, finite perspective. So let’s remember to trust him and rely on him regardless of the challenges we face.

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