My mom’s a big believer that God has everything in his control. If she’s in the market for a new car, she will trust God to lead her to the perfect one. If she sees a free chair on the side of the road she interprets it as God’s direct provision for her, proof that he cares about her and her situation. I’m using actual examples.
This is of course not her original idea. You’ll hear all the time that God blessed so and so’s ministry by providing a building to lease. I naturally ask if that means that God also provided the Muslims with their new mosque or the atheists with their office space. Or if a movie is successful does that mean God has blessed it? Because you hear all the time of ministries that are growing, and the ministers claim it’s God blessing and ordaining their work.
I don’t throw my disagreement in my mom’s face nor do I bother challenging her – it’s not a boat that needs to be rocked. Though I disagree that God controls what job you end up in or that he provided a cheap dining room table on sale, I don’t really have the God’s control idea figured out. I can point out what I think he doesn’t control, but I have difficulty identifying what he does control.
Ultimately, though, as much fun as it is to speculate and try to crack the equation or solve the puzzle – we don’t know. And we won’t. It’s not as though a couple more years of serious hard thinking on the subject will gain us much.
You know what I realized the other day? Though we had God present on this earth for 30-plus years, he didn’t answer those sorts of questions. He didn’t even give any clues. I don’t think Jesus was even interested in answering those sorts of questions – I think he was far more interested in talking about what power we do have. As far as I can tell, Jesus was a more practical type in this regard.
So instead of explaining all these things that above and beyond us, he focused on what we can do. Which is to say, quite a bit.
From day one I see God’s investment in us as people who can, well, do something. He gave us a blank earth upon which to build, develop and create, and he molded his church out of lowly, left out and second-class citizen types of people. Jesus commissioned his disciples and sent them off to do miraculous things. It’s really quite stunning.
Have you spent much time debating about what God orchestrates and what he doesn’t? Can such conversations gain us much? Why do you think Jesus didn’t address this issue?