What Should We Do When God Is in Control?

At a football game I attended many years ago a receiver on one team caught a pass, and headed for the goal line, which was about 60 yards away. The only thing standing between him and a touchdown was a safety on the opposing team who had somehow managed to get down field and was standing on the goal. I remember waiting as the predictable ugly outcome. By the time the player running with the ball reached the goal line he had a full head of steam. The defensive player was just standing there waiting for him. The player running with the ball ran right over him. As I recall they had to carry the defensive player off the field.
The response of that defensive player depicts rather accurately the approach taken by evangelicals church today, which not only stay on the defensive, but seem to be waiting for the opposing team, the liberal juggernaut, to run over them, which they are in the process of doing. As with the football play described above, the outcome is predictable.
We have been discussing reasons why the church is so passive, lacks initiative, seems to just be waiting to be run over. And we are being run over, one element at a time. One would think that every evangelical would recognize that his return will eventually come, and probably not in the distant future.
One attitude that I believe prompts the lack of responsiveness of evangelicals resides in the expression I hear repeatedly when sharing this concern with fellow Christians. A common retort, often even said with a smile, is, “Well, it’s good to know that God is in control.”
Sometimes this response is stated in such a way that an added implication is unmistakable: “Man, where is your faith. Why are you stressing over all these concerns. Apparently you aren’t able to trust God through these difficult times. I’m sorry you are living in such weak faith.”
My response to this rejoinder is twofold.
Part “A” has to do with the relationship between God being in control and our being responsible. The implication of this response is that since God is in control we don’t need to bother doing anything about the situation.
I find that perspective interesting. If a Christian comes down the cancer does he smile and say, “Well, God is in control,” and as a result since no need to do anything about it? My guess is that while he believes that God is in control he will nonetheless get himself to a doctor. If his house is on fire will he confidently pronounce, “Well, God is in control,” and do nothing about it, or will he dial 911? My guess is he will do all he can to get the fire company there as quickly as possible.
It is strange that in every other area, even though we believe God is in control we sense a need and a responsibility to take action. Why is it that when it comes to our political situation evangelicals don’t sense the same responsibility.
I wonder also if the person’s house is burning down and he responds confidently, “Well, God is in control,” and doesn’t dial 911 whether his house will burn down. My guess is that faith without works will result in a heap of ashes. God is in control, but if we don’t do our part He tends not to show up. At times, in his grace, he works even in the face of our irresponsibility, but that is frequently not the case, and to presume on His willingness to do so is a huge mistake. Nonetheless, that is exactly what I see the evangelical church doing today in response to our current political crisis.
Part “B” to my response to the God is in control assertion is to point out that God was in control when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, killed the men, raping women, and carried off the children to captivity. In light of that, I am wondering why my God is in control friends take such comfort in that reality. I could understand if they were doing everything possible to deal with the situation, and then at that point they confidently left it in God’s hands, taking comfort in His control of the situation. That is hardly where evangelicals find themselves today.
Back to the football game, unless we wake up and get up a head of steam to tackle that guy with the ball coming right at us, we will get carried off the field. The church’s present response makes me think that we better go after the stretcher.

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