Christians are funny creatures. In our haste to be "good" Christians we race each other to heap as many superlatives on God as we can. That is to say, we rush to create God in an image that is perfect in our eyes. A famous Christian philospher once noted that given the choice between two attributes of God, whichever is better, that must be God.
Does God know everything? Is he omniscient? Well, knowing everything is better than not knowing everything. Therefore, he must know everything.
Is God all powerful? Is he omnipotent? Well, having all power is better then having most of the power. Therefore, he must be all powerful.
And so on and so forth. God being the best of everything we can think of. There's just one problem with this God. This is not a God of revelation. This is a God of definition.
Do we really think God is a person, an individual being? Does God have a personality? Does he have different moods? Does he make decisions from his heart or is he locked into some kind of cosmic perfection which dictates what is most Godly?
The God of the Bible is revealed as a being interacting with people he loves. Sometimes he feels joy as we are intimate with him and sometimes he feels angry because we lie to him and betray his heart. Why is it so important to us for God to be in control? He doesn't seem to feel like he is.
Control is an interesting thing. When we say that God is sovereign, what do we mean? We live in a mechanistic culture where we have learned to push a button and expect a result. We can cook our meals in 2 minutes in a microwave and we can obtain any kind of food just by heading down to the supermarket. No building a fire, harvesting our food or waiting for the seasons to change. Machines have produced a whole new level of control. Is this how we view God's sovereignty?
How would we think if we lived in a time before machines? What kind of "control" would we expect of a king in the 12th century? Yes, he has ultimate authority over his kingdom. Yes, he has an army with which he protects his people. Yes, a good king would desire to care for and to protect his people. But what would it mean in this culture to say, "The king is in control"?
Can the king produce food out of season? How much time would it take the king to respond to an invasion of his lands by an outside army? Would there be any pain and suffering during the time it took the king to assemble his army and ride to the defense of his people? Even if he quickly defeated the enemy and drove out the invading army would this mean that every citizen had been completey protected?
Control looks different without a mechanistic world view - doesn't it? Maybe, our lives are more like individual adventures in a hostile land. God's love for us and his "control" over our lives is more relational than mechanistic. We will engage the enemy. We will experience loss. Life often brings heart ache and pain. But our loving Father will always ride to our defense. He's just not pushing buttons, moment by moment controlling the comfort or safety of our life experience.
This idea of God requires a great deal more faith. Is God still in control after a loved one has died? Is God still in control as we fight against sickness and disease? Is God in control if He does not arrive on the scene as fast as we think he should?
Just some stuff we should talk about.