Read Matthew 6:9-10
9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. (NLT)
We are often told by those wanting to reassure us in times of trouble that God is in control. But is this true even though it sound so piously correct? We have a problem if the phrase implies that everything that happens is willed by God. Can we say that he wills evil? To someone in distress, telling them God is in control raises more questions than it answers.
Not all that happens on God’s earth is God’s will. If it were, we have to attribute evil to him. And if it were, why bother praying the Lord’s Prayer? Why pray his kingdom come and his will be done if it is already as it should be? We pray as we do because we realise God’s will is not always done here on earth: his kingdom is not yet absolute.
God is no micromanager of the universe, no CEO pulling the strings. He does not send cancer or tsunamis or sexual abuse into his world. In this sense he is not in control. And yet we know he works for good in the midst of evil. It is in this sense we can be assured the world is not actually out of control. He will work good out of present evil, and one day will abolish all evil. This is what his ‘control’ looks like.
God is certainly not helplessly wringing his hands in despair or sitting on his hands idly doing nothing. He is watching over his world, intervening to work good out of evil, but even then doing things his way in his time. Satan may wreak havoc, but God is having the last word. If we want to picture a sovereign God, don’t imagine a business executive behind a desk barking out orders. Imagine one who weeps and one who waits.