Friday, January 22, 2010

Is God in control?

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen's University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

I've been wrestling for some time now with embedded (things I've just believed without really thinking them through) theology regarding God, His power and authority, and whether or not He is really in control.

We sing about it. We talk about it. We end conversations with "Well, God is in control," as if that somehow is the answer to the struggle of why some things happen the way they do.

But I don't really think God is automatically in control of anyone or anything other than Himself. He gave up that option when He designed free will into creation. Often times when we say that, it is (watch out, I may step on toes here) a cop out when what we really need to be doing is seeking the Lord to see where we need to bring His authority and to repent of where we might have dropped the ball.

Now, before you start throwing things at me, I don't have this all thought out perfectly. I wouldn't mind some good discussion on the topic. I don't want to really argue about it, however. So if you read my blog and you disagree with me, feel free to present your thoughts to me in a kind fashion. I'm really not a bad person.

That being said, allow me to think out loud a bit.

I do believe God is all-powerful. I believe He could step in at any moment and take control. I also believe He has all authority and that He has placed in our hands a large portion (more than we realize, it would seem) of that authority with which we are to rule the earth as He would. I also believe He is all-knowing, loving, just, kind, true. I believe that everything the Bible says about God is true.

I think, though, that Scripture indicates He limits Himself first through giving us free will and then through choosing to work through His creation, through His people, through me. I and others like me are what He plans to use in His renewing-the-earth plan. In a sense, He's placed control in my hands.


N.T Wright says it this way: "...he acts from within the creation itself, with all the ambiguities and paradoxes which that involves, in order to deal with the multiple problems that have resulted from human rebellion, and so to restore creation itself. And he acts from within the covenant people themselves, to complete the rescue operation and fulfill its original purpose." [1]

He acts from within "the covenant people themselves." That's me. And that is some of you. I don't understand how it works, but somehow God is at peace with letting a lot ride on what I do or don't do. And with all that responsibility, He lets me know that He works all things together for my good and that my mistakes (and there are many) are not beyond His redemptive power.

So with these thoughts is this dawning of understanding of the utter importance of believing that I am who God says I am. I need to fully know who I am in Christ so that I can be all He has called me to be in this time and place and not be double minded.

He created me and fashioned me and purposed me to bring His authority into every situation, to reestablish His rule and reign on the earth, to recognize that I have the Spirit of the Most High residing in me. That makes me a place where Heaven and earth overlap, a vessel through which God desires to execute His rescue operation to bring things back under His control and authority.

And for this rescue operation of God's to really work, His covenant people can't just sit back and say "Well, God is in control" and just expect it to all work out. I mean, it does work out in the end, but I want to be a part of it working it out because He's asked me to. He designed specific parts of the mission just for me to do!

I want God to so control me (and it only happens if I choose to give Him the reins, wouldn't you agree?), I want to be so completely and willingly possessed by the Holy Spirit that everywhere I go His Kingdom shows up and puts that which is wrong to right...puts God back in control, in authority on earth as it is in Heaven...

I hear God enjoys a good wrestling match. You'll know me by my limp ;-)

Grace and peace.

1 N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: Harper Collins, 2006) 75.

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