Julie and I had some great conversations this last week with good friends on the topic of control. It's a hard thing to talk about, and most of us have some issues -- more or less -- with control.
Mostly, we want to be in control. We want to determine how things turn out. We'd like to have the power to determine outcomes, to decide that someone we love should be healed when they're hurting, to persuade -- not to say force -- people we love to make good decisions.
I totally get the desire to be in control.
But here's another question that's been romping around the edges of my thought all week: Does God want to be in control?
Now, hear me out. I know we think God is in control, but let that go for a second. Does God want to be in control? When you face a hard decision, does God want to be in control of your decision making? When you are thinking about straying from the path of moral integrity, does God want to be in control?
I would submit that no, he does not. In fact, I think one of the reasons we get so frustrated with our existence is that God doesn't take control when we think he should. We think God ought to step up and make certain things happen. God should make the cancer cells die off, God should prevent the teenage daughter from getting pregnant, God should undo the weather systems that cause super typhoons. God should be in control.
I suspect -- and here I'm getting out into the blank edges of the map, where cartographers have written "Here there be Tygers" -- that God steps back from being in control precisely in order to allow us some measure of freedom, in order to allow us to grow and develop and realize our dependence and mature and get better at taking ownership of our own decisions.
It's just a hunch, you understand, but if this is true it explains a lot in our lives.
I don't think God is interested in having control. What do you do with that?