Here’s some food for thought- If God is capable of what is beyond even our wildest imagination, if his will is fulfilled as he proclaims things to be, if he can make the seemingly impossible a reality, why don’t we always experience abundance, great fortune and ease of passage?
After the lung carcinoma diagnosis of a blogging friend, I began following an Instagram page called the Cancer Patient that brings survivors together in community. My hope was to grow in my capacity for empathy and understanding of what people go through as there’s great injustice to be found in remaining ignorant to the plights of others, especially as we could be in their shoes in an instant. Nobody is untouchable and illness in particular doesn’t discriminate. I see these posts and feel equal parts overwhelming gratitude for my favourable situation as I do pain for their ongoing hardships.
As I’ve played spectator to such heartbreak and atrocity, I’ve felt genuinely frightened to be at the mercy of a higher power. I’ve viewed these people in the midst of their struggle as pawns in a game. God is to be esteemed so why are his words and actions out of alignment? Surely it is not within his character to assign people mountains they cannot move, to burden them beyond lessons in character building and development.
When you dig deeper into the verses of biblical text and seek to properly understand the role God plays in assigning individual fates, you’ll discover that none are truly about God playing perverse puppeteer. There are no strings jerking us this way or that way, forcing position. Perhaps we take this idea of relinquishing control and allowing what will be to be too literally. There are no verses that explicitly speak of God as a root cause. When Paul wrote to Timothy he said: “For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity but power, love and self discipline.”
That is God’s gift to the people. A sensory experience. Eyes to visualise with, hands to touch, form and create with. A mind far smarter, more efficient and organised than any machine could be. A brain that stores memories, recalls facts from the archives of time, grapples with logic, reason and rationale. God has given you almost unlimited control over the one thing within your control. Yourself. Do not buy into narratives that make you feel small, weak, inconsequential or powerless. The gifts God has bestowed upon you, the unique abilities and quirks that set you apart in character and personality, are your strengths. God’s power reaches his full expression when we are confident in our purpose and determined to carry it out.
Please know that you are far from helpless. You are not dependant on rescue, no matter how much you want to play the fair maiden in distress role. There is nobody bigger, better or more qualified to make your decisions than you. You are the person who you know inside out, who you are most intimate with. The person who, ironically, you’re most at ease and at odds with. If you’re waiting for a sovereign move of divinity, choose to step up for yourself instead. The spirit you’re imbued with is beautiful, powerful beyond measure and highly capable of making moves that do your future and vision justice.
A pure love is how you keep this power at its most vibrant, healthy, benevolent and true. Harnessing this power through other means will only cause it to become warped and depraved, a festering wound. When nurtured by grace, this power you’ve received has a purpose that is the furthest from controlling others, the world and situations. You will begin to recognise that there is nothing genuine about making people and things a certain way that they aren’t, even if for a split second they resemble figments of your beliefs. It was never about things working out exactly as we picture them. That is unrealistic.
It’s about taking personal responsibility and engaging with our autonomy. It’s about showing up and being wholly present right in the here and now. It’s about resisting the urge to hide behind cliches that temporarily pacify fear, put off disappointment and stop you feeling uncomfortable. Friend, be brave. Banish the excuses, rip off the bandaid and brace yourself as you open this box that has long been locked shut. See the truth and revel in its unashamed honesty. Life is a task in breaking locks, throwing open doors and taking a good long look around, even and especially when it’s hard to do so. God is an all seeing and all knowing entity, that’s true. If he really sought to control everything down to minute blades of grass and grains of sand, the world would look differently.
This cliché is an excuse, a bandaid, a box locked shut so you can’t open up and see what’s really there. But friend, break that lock, throw open the lid, and take a look around. If God was an entity that could control all of this, God already would have. There is a better, freer way to live and people everywhere are tapping into this frequency of positivity. The idea that God has ultimate control is built on fear. A disgust towards natural curiosity and a desire not to follow in the footsteps of the first man and woman. To be led not to temptation but to be steadfast and have an iron will. We’re taught that if left to our own devices, ruin and demise will befall us. We will become morally corrupt and led too far astray to see green pasture.
This is propaganda, beliefs that date back only a few hundred yet but ooze toxic patriarchy, colonialism, abuse and shame. If you weren’t meant to use it, you would not have been created with a living spirit, with a soul that bends towards the light. A mind that is sound and capable of making decisions. The ultimate agency over yourself. This is intuitive connection to self, not mere dogmatic dictatorship. It’s awareness that demands you pay attention, listen for whispers of the heart and act with truth and integrity.
Marianne Williamson said: “The power to affect what happens on the earth from an invisible realm within is the natural right and function of children of God. New frontiers are internal ones and the real stretch is always within us. Instead of expanding our ability or willingness to go out and get anything, we must expand our ability to receive what is already here for us.”
Yes, God is in control. God is in control as much as he is the love that beckons you to cherish yourself and take life seriously enough to thrive, find pleasure and feel a spectrum of emotions in all the wild and holy ways that you can. God is in control when you see love win, even when it’s flat on its back. Consider this: God doesn’t want to control you or your life. God has built within your being and body the mechanisms for agency and responsibility, to rise in your power, in love and grace, and take control of the only thing you can: yourself. Personal responsibility is not a burden, but a gracious freedom. What will you choose to do with it?