When any crisis hits, especially this current global pandemic, a lot of Christians like to say “God is control.” But what does that really mean? Sure it sounds nice; it’s intended to inspire hope. Yet it can be problematic too. When things go bad (a car crashes, a company goes bankrupt, etc.), the person who is in control usually gets the blame. So how can a God of love be in control when thousands of people are dying from COVID-19?
For ages, people have wrestled with the idea of God being in control. Perhaps the prime example of this was found in the aftermath of the Jewish holocaust. How could such a thing happen under the control of a good God? While there aren’t any easy answers, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems that God bends the lengthy story arc of the universe towards justice and goodness. We see evidence of this as now, about 80 years later, Jewish people are flourishing (by and large) and Nazis have been eradicated (by and large) – which seemed inconceivable in the midst of the holocaust. Since we can only comprehend a small portion of this arc, all we can do is have faith in the difficult moments that God is at work on the universal scale to accomplish His ultimate purposes.
As Christians, we cannot fully grasp God’s work on the universal scale, but we can understand His work on the personal level. So perhaps the more pertinent question for us is: Is God in control of our lives? As He works to accomplish His purposes throughout the universe, are you allowing Him to accomplish His good purpose in your life? This is Paul’s desire for us, “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). May we have faith that God is in ultimate control of the universe and may we allow Him to have control of our lives as well!