God in control: Reassurance or Resentment?
There are two felt responses to the idea that God is in control:
When faced with something that overwhelms, something to which clearly we are powerless to change, conquer, cope with or deny, we are relieved to know that God is over it all, unruffled, and in control. Reassurance is the opposite of doubt and fear. The one who trusts in Christ can manage fear.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10).
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7).
When faced with something we feel we can handle ourselves, something we prefer to handle, and do so usually for selfish, carnal reasons, the notion of God’s control is threatening, invasive, resentful. Resentment is the direct opposite of contentment. The unbeliever finds no rest. But the one who trusts in Christ can rest content.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Tim. 6:6-8).
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Heb. 13:5).
So what is at the fulcrum of these two teetering responses? — Pride!
From the beginning, in the heart of Lucifer, self-will is the seat of pride. “I will be like the Most High!” (Isa. 14:14). But along comes the gospel of God’s grace demanding mankind to cast down “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5) and fallen, sinful human hearts rebel.
What then is the way to replace doubt and fear with peace and contentment? Submission to the Love and Lordship of Christ is our only answer.