January 03, 2017

God is { Not } in Control

When Hurricane Matthew blew through the east coast, and even touched us a bit here inland, our son started asking lots of questions.
"Why did God send the horicane?" (he calls them hor-i-canes and I just. can't. correct him!)
"Why did all those people in Haiti die?"
"Will the horicane come here in Charlotte?"
Hurricanes aren't really something you hear about in Tanzania, so it was a very real and scary thing for him to see some of the footage being shown of what was happening. But it opened up such a great opportunity to teach our {not so} little 5 year old about the nature of God. One of those things being:

God is not in control.

Contrary to what many people will say - especially in the face of disaster, adversity, despair and hopelessness - God is not in control.
Pure, holy, Agape Love.

Not like you 'love' pumkin spice everything. (also, I don't like pumpkin spice anything, blech)
Not like you 'love' the beach.
Not like you 'love' those yoga pants.
Not like you 'love' to travel.
Not like you 'love' coffee. (uh-oh, I went there)

God is pure, perfect, unchanging

And Love 
is not
Love, is choice. It's free will.  It's trust.

Our lives are not some giant game of chess. We are not game pieces on a game board that God moves around and manipulates to achieve his Master Plan - creating situations and sacrificing a pawn and a knight here or there for the 'greater good'  until he's victorious and calls out "Check Mate!"

Because here's the thing - {we} humans are Children of God. And he gave us the choice, from the very beginning, to be in control. In the Garden of Eden he let Adam & Eve choose. He could have controlled them, he could of told them to obey and made them be obedient - he's God, he has that power. But what parent wants his children to love him out of obligation? What parent wants his children to love him because they are forced to, or they have no other choice to? Not our Father. He wants nothing more than for all of his children to love him without abandon - but he also knows that pure love won't come if he is in control.
That's not how love works.
True Love is born from a desire, deep down. It's a choice.
And oh, how beautiful it is when we chose to Love Him.

Because when we chose to Love him, really and truly Love him, we can see.
We can see that - though he is not in control -
He is
And when bad, horrible things happen - and they will, OH, how they will because there is sin in this world.
When those bad things happen, it's not because God "let" them happen, and certainly not because he made them happen. No.
God is a GOOD God. It's his nature. And if it's his nature he can not also be Bad and do Bad things. That would be a contradiction and God is not a god of contradiction - he never changes, he always has been, and always will be Good.
It's because of choices {we} humans have made, somewhere in life. Whether immediate to that situation or not - maybe even going all the way back to those choices in that garden with the Serpent and the Humans -
But the great thing is -
The Amazing thing is -
When we truly Love God, we can see through the bad, ugly, and hopeless things.
We can see his sovereignty, and we can proclaim his goodness, and beauty and we can have HOPE that he
the broken,
the barren,
the desolate,
the destroyed.
Because he is Good.
He is Love.
He is God.

So when our boy asks us why there are 'horicanes', we tell him - because there is sin in this world. But the great thing is: God can redeem it.
When our five year old asks why our babies keep dying before they can even be born, we tell him - because there's sin in this world. But the great thing is: God can redeem it.
We can tell him that God weeps with us during these horrible, wretched and destructive things - tears fall in streams from his eyes because he is a Good Father, he doesn't want to see his children suffer. He's not trying to teach us some lesson or 'break' us. He is Love. And because he loves us so much, he is *not* in control.