Is God In Control?
I’ve been in Christ for a while now… filled with the Holy Spirit in August of 1973, much more than half of my life.
Those years have included 10+ presidential terms of office with the following Presidents: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
I wish I had kept records of all the campaign promises and/or threats leading up to each of their elections. It would be an interesting study to compare what they said with what they actually did. If my memory serves me correctly, there has often been a pretty large gap between words and accomplishments.
The next U.S. President will be Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. He too has promised to do many things on a variety of issues. Some of those promises appear as threats to many U.S. citizens, who are not at all happy about his strong leftist leanings.
To be honest, I’ve been—and am—in the camp of the unhappy. That hasn’t stopped me from praying for President-elect Obama, nor has it stopped me from honoring the office and the man that will hold it. A past musing expressed these exact sentiments: http://www.billholdridge.com/Musings/0A45412E-D6C6-461F-B358-9BDF77AE2A35.html.
But recently I’ve developed a different perspective. This perspective comes from the vantage point of the skies, looking down at the forest. It’s the view from the Goodyear blimp, rather than from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
I’ve been reading and re-reading the O.T. book of Esther. It’s an amazing book that powerfully portrays the work of God amongst the nations… but surprisingly—doesn’t even specifically mention God or His Name. Yet, He is everywhere.
Remember, “God is nowhere” can also be read as God is now here. The book of Esther describes the God that is now here. He is working, but His actions are not necessarily seen or noticed at the moment.
Esther’s story is told from the backdrop of the 5th C. B.C, in the Persian capital of Shushan. Esther, a Jewess, was surprisingly and suddenly elevated to be queen of the most powerful nation in the world. During the early moments of her reign, all the Jews in all the provinces of Persia were scheduled to be annihilated by order of the king in response to the rabid anti-Semitism of Haman the Agagite.
But what seemed to be inevitable was dramatically reversed and the Jewish people were preserved. The king, powerless to change the edict of the wicked Haman (according to the nuances of Persian law), gave Esther the authority to write a brand new law, which she did. With the new law, the Jews were empowered to defend themselves. Properly armed and prepared, they were easily able to defeat their enemies, and thus survive as a people.
Behind the scenes, God Himself was quietly directing the flow of human affairs. In fact, I counted at least fifteen instances of the sovereign hand of God at work. (I challenge you to find those instances yourselves.) By direct and indirect actions, God was working “all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
So what am I saying? I’m saying this: God is over everything. He is moving in our day, shaping all things toward His desired ends. The obvious evil that is all around us cannot eclipse the ultimate good that God wants to do. He can—and will—put people in positions of influence and power. He can—and will—shape public policy in ways different than initially intended. He can—and will—produce outcomes that are in keeping with our fervent prayer “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
President-elect Obama may be operating under the illusion that he has power of his own, and that he can effect the changes he has announced to all. This is simply not true. The houses of Congress may suffer from the same fantasy. But the fact of the matter is that they would have no power at all unless it had been given to them from above (see John 19:11, Jesus’ words to Pilate).
God is in control, ultimately.
We just need to keep praying. In her day, Esther proclaimed a three-day fast. That was important then; it’s important for us now.
We just need to continue loving God with all our hearts, and remain zealous for His ways. In their day, Mordecai and Esther risked their own lives on behalf of God’s people. Esther was elevated for “such a time as this.” So are we, today.
We just need to serve the Lord, to put spiritual things above all other pursuits in our lives. We need to seek first God’s kingdom, and His righteousness. We need to find our portion, and fulfill it faithfully. The Lord will help us.
We just need to trust that God is the only wise God, and that He knows what He is doing. He will not and cannot be defeated. He is the sovereign, conquering King. He reigns, and He shall reign.
What God is over all the universe is also what He is to each of us as individuals. He knows our names; He knows our anxious thoughts. Sure, these are trying days, but certainly they do not put us beyond the reach of our Father’s care. More than ever before, believers need to trust God, to believe what we believe about Him, and live accordingly.
Thanks for reading.