I know, talk about a controversial title for a blog.
But it’s true.
God is not in control of everything.
And I have irrefutable proof of that.
What is it?
Well I’ll get to that in a second but first lets quickly discuss God’s will.
You see if God was in control of everything then His will would always be done.
This seems pretty obvious, the problem is that there are plenty of people out there who will argue that it is always done.
They’ll say, “well it’s clear to me it’s not God’s will for everyone to be healed because not everyone gets healed.”
Or maybe even more disturbing, they might say – “it’s clear to me that God creates some predestined to go to Hell and some to Heaven because not everyone gets saved.”
This view of “if it doesn’t happen then it’s not God’s will” or “if it does happen it is God’s will” is really scary though.
Because it creates a will of God that it tethered to our experiences and not the Bible and the words of Jesus!
God’s will is frequently laid out clear as day in the Bible but it simple doesn’t happen that way in our lives.
Take salvation – 2 Peter 3:9 states that “God wills that none would perish but all would come to repentance.”
This always puts someone of a more Calvinistic persuasion on the back foot. Faced with that scripture you are left with two options:
God’s will doesn’t always come about.
You have to believe in universalism.
(What a fun choice to give to a good Evangelical Calvinist)
But that I’m sure can still be wangled out of. So why don’t we talk about something more irrefutable.
Does God want people to sin?
Is there anywhere in the Bible we see God wanting people to sin?
Of course not – God wants us to be holy.
Goodness, if we were to pick out core themes that run through the Bible one of them would surely have to be God’s desire to see people living free from sin and all the bondage that sin puts upon their lives.
That’s why Jesus came! To take away the sins of the world.
It would take a lot of exegetical gymnastics to preach that it is God’s will that people sin.
And yet what is the reality?
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Not only that, but even now we have been set free from sin in Christ, we still mess up!
So is it God’s will that we go on sinning?
Or is it possible that God isn’t in “control”?
Now hear me correctly on this!
I am not in any way saying anything to diminish God’s supremacy or position as the ultimate power in this universe (and any other universes there may be).
I’m simply saying He doesn’t need to be in control.
God is sovereign, yes but that doesn’t mean He’s in control.
Firstly for those that use the NIV as your translation (and I want to state it’s a great translation) there is something you should know. Every time you read “Sovereign God” (288 times to be precise) it actually should read “Lord God”. The Hebrew does not mean sovereign and that was a translator’s decision.
Secondly, when in the Hebrew the word is sovereign it doesn’t mean “in control” it means “in charge”.
This is an important distinction!
Sovereign in the dictionary means to “possess supreme or ultimate power.” it doesn’t not necessarily mean that it’s being used in every situation in the world to control everything.
The queen of England is sovereign but she has yet to interfere in my day-to-day life by telling me what to eat for lunch.
Let me give you another example:
Take for example a CEO of a company. While he is in charge and responsible for a large amount of employees he ultimately isn’t in control of their actions.
In fact, recognising this is typically what makes or breaks a good employer. If they recognize this they will empower their employees, if they don’t they will try to control them by micromanaging every move they make.
Just like the employer, God is in charge. His sovereignty means He is over everything, answers to nobody and has responsibility for everything. From the beginning God chose us, His “employees”, those He would delegate responsibility to and put in control of the Earth.
It talks about this in Psalm 115:16 where it says the Heavens are God’s but the Earth He gave to men.
We then see man hand those keys of authority to Satan in the garden of Eden. This is why Satan could offer Jesus in the wilderness the whole Earth, because the whole Earth was no longer under man’s control but rather it belonged to Satan. (Matt 4:8-9)
The idea of a God having absolute control is a Greco-Roman way of thinking. You see, they would see a god who doesn’t have absolute control as a powerless god.
The Bible paints a different picture for us. A picture of a God who is so secure in His position and power that He comfortably gave us control knowing we’d screw up. He could do this because He is so good at working things out for good and seeing His overall purposes come to pass. This to me describes a God who is infinitely more powerful, not less-so.
Why do you think that Jesus told us to pray that God’s will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven?
Because His will is done in Heaven but not always on Earth.
While God is all powerful and will work all things to good in your life, don’t fall into the trap of believing that He is micromanaging everything in your life.
Don’t decide what God’s will is, based upon what happens to you!
I’ve had the privilege of spending time in the Middle East a few times now (it’s one of my favourite places in the world!)
One of the countless things that jumped out at me was the way many of the people drove.
They drove like maniacs… to the degree that they made my driving look good!
Many wouldn’t even wear seat belts (or even make their kids wear seat belts!) and when asked why they would respond “Insha’Allah” – which means “if God wills”.
They had a view that if they die they die – that is God’s will. And if God doesn’t will them to die then he will protect them.
This is an extreme example. But it’s how many of us are thinking in our lives. That God is micromanaging every step of our lives.
The truth is that I’m sure God would like to see the roadside death rate much lower in the Middle East. However there is only so much one can do when you let people take control of their own lives and they drive through a red light at 60 miles an hour with no seatbelt on!
Absolutely God works in our lives to bring about his will and purposes but do you know what I believe…
Far to often we find ourselves in the situations we are because we were metaphorically driving around recklessly saying Insha’Allah instead of just putting on our seat belts and stopping at red lights.
Let God be sovereign in your life… But don’t expect Him to micromanage your entire life!
Because while God could control everything, He has no desire to do so.
He wants a partner not a puppet!