Tuesday, July 8, 2014

God Who Provides

God is in control of the world. And that opens a can of worms. For the question then arises, to what degree is God in control? Is He in control of some things or of everything? There are many attempts to find some kind of middle ground here, to see God as in control of the broad sweeps of history but not the details. Now Scripture says that God is in control of all things (Ephesians 1:11; Daniel 4:35; Psalms 135:6). That He controls the fate of nations (Daniel 2:21; Isaiah 44:28; Romans 9:17). That He works in the events of our lives to accomplish His purpose, even when we do not necessarily see it (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Jeremiah 29:11). That He ultimately chooses who will come to Him (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:29,30). But that does not mean human choice is irrelevant (Acts 16:31; Revelation 22:17; Joshua 24:15). But these choices come together to make up God's plan. How that works is something I do not pretend to understand. But I convinced that God is, from His perspective, in total control and that He determines all events. But from our perspective we still make choices and are responsible for those choices, and those choices make a difference. Now this is a difficult issue. And I do not believe it is so fundamental that we should divide over it. For it is my experience that many people have a strong emotional reaction against such an idea. And because I do not believe this is an essential teaching of the faith, I think it well to grant them some slack in this area.

But if we believe God is in control, even if it is in a qualified form, it makes a difference in how we view things. If we know God is in control, we can trust Him with the events of our lives and with the world (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2, 46:10), and therefore we will know He will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33: Psalms 23). But anyone who has had any chance to observe knows the problems that arise here. We are faced with the fact that those who follow Christ do not escape ever encountering any problems in life. Nor, as we look around us, do we see calamities meted out according to dessert. Now Scripture does teach us that God uses the bad things in our lives to make us stronger in Him (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 12:7-10; James 1:2-4). But in  the final analysis, sometimes we are left with Job, concluding that God is greater than us and we do not know or understand all the answers; we can only trust Him (Job 38-42). And that is where we need to be, trusting  God for His plan but not necessarily knowing what that plan is (1 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 11:33; Isaiah 55:9). For God is not interested in building people who can figure out His plan but those who are willing to trust Him every step of the way.    


  1. I am thinking about how God has chosen to bless humans with the choice to love (or not to love). This gift can be wonderful when humans love but creates many problems (some lasting for generations) when they choose not to love. I see God not so much in the minutiae if history but in the big picture. I feel that we can trust Him not because he is in control of the bad things that happen to us but because is able to bring good when bad things happen.

    1. I cannot totally agree with you there but I think it would be confusing to deal with the same question in two different threads. For my detailed answer see the previous thread. http://mikeerich.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-voice-from-past-lewis.html#comments