May 2009 - Vol. 30

God Is In Control
 by Jon Wilson

Current events these days are reminding us that we live in a very unstable world. From financial markets to corporate woes, from insurgents and militias to political unrest, the headlines come fast and furious. With even moderate exposure to the media, it is easy for Christians to get swept along in the tide of the daily news, without really processing it in a Christian way. 

How can we bring a redeemed perspective to the upheaval in the world today, both for ourselves and for others who need to hear the Gospel?

To begin with, let’s look at someone in the Bible who was in the midst of trying circumstances. In Psalm 11, the writer shows us how he responds to crises in his life. He begins with his bottom line: “In the Lord I take refuge.” He goes on to quote those who are urging him to panic: 

How then can you say to me: 
    "Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows; 
     they set their arrows against the strings 
     to shoot from the shadows 
     at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed, 
     what can the righteous do?”
Don’t we hear these voices in the media? The frantic tone, the call to panic, the claim that the troubles of the day are unprecedented. In the face of this voice, I find myself oscillating between two responses: “Man, I’ve got to do something!” and “All hope is lost!”

So what is the psalmist’s response? 

The Lord is in his holy temple; 
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne. 
    He observes the sons of men; 
    his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous, 
    but the wicked and those who love violence 
    his soul hates.
On the wicked he will rain 
    fiery coals and burning sulfur; 
    a scorching wind will be their lot.
For the Lord is righteous, 
    he loves justice;
    upright men will see his face.
The psalmist’s response is that, fundamentally, the Lord is in control of what is going on in the world. God is not on the defensive, reacting to world events. The image of God being in the temple, being on the throne, communicates power, authority, rule. The world is his, and he is directing events to accomplish his own purposes in the world. So how does God want us to respond to crises around us? Verse 1 shows us the posture we should take: “In the Lord I take refuge.”

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[Jon Wilson is a coordinator of Word of Life, a member community of the Sword of the Spirit. He and his wife, Melody and their four children live in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.] 
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