Summary: Don’t you ever wonder why we suffer? Is God still in control, and if He is, what is the purpose and the meaning of all this? Can’t God control the winds anymore like he did on the Sea of Galilee, or is this some kind of judgment--if so, what are we to l
Is God Still in Control?
Job 1: 6-12
January 22, 2006
Reverend William A. Huegel
First Baptist Church of Wallingford
A messenger came to Job and said, “Sir, I have some very bad news. “The Oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby and the enemies from the East came by and attacked. They stole the animals and killed your servants, and I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you.”
The problem is that he was barely done getting his message out before another person came along and said, “Sir, I have some very bad news. We were out in the field watching your sheep and Sir, The worse lightening storm I have ever witnessed crashed down from the sky, and within minutes all your sheep were dead and the shepherds were killed along with them. Sir! I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you.”
He was barely done speaking when yet another messenger came and said, “Sir, I have some very bad news. Enemies from the South came sweeping down upon us and stole all of your camels and killed your servants, and I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you.”
And, unbelievably, he was barely done speaking when even another servant came along and said, “Sir! You needed to be seated for this. I have terrible news. Your sons and your daughters were feasting and drinking in their oldest brother’s house when a tornado swept in smashed the house with all of them in it, and sir, they are all dead. And I am the only one who has escaped to tell you.”
I don’t know what you would have done. I know what I would have thought. I would have said:
- “My God! What are you doing?”
- “My God, what is going on?”
- “God, what did I do to deserve this?”
- “God, are you still in your heaven?”
- “Jesus, I thought that you loved me!”
- “God, are you still in control of this world?”
Who is in control? Who is calling the shots? I used to sing, “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands”, but today, I’m not so sure.”
2006 was a terrible year. Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Wilma, fires out West, tornadoes in the mid-west, Earthquakes in Pakistan--all of which just followed the great Tsunami in Indonesia and surrounding countries.
Don’t you ever wonder why we suffer? Is God still in control, and if He is, what is the purpose and the meaning of all this? Can’t God control the winds anymore like he did on the Sea of Galilee, or is this some kind of judgment--if so, what are we to learn?
As long as other people suffer, I can glibly tell you that God is testing them, that it’s some kind of judgment, and that there are indeed lessons to learn. But when it falls on me, I wonder, “Oh God! Why me? What did I do? God are you still in control?”
You see, my problem is that I believe in God.
- I believe God is all-powerful.
- I believe that God is all knowing.
- I believe that God is in control.
- I believe that God is good – He is not evil.
- I believe that God does not take some kind of sadistic pleasure in seeing people suffer.
Years ago, I read the book by Rabbi Harold Kushner, whose son died of a rare childhood disease called “Progeria” in which he began to age very rapidly. So, at age 10 he looked like a 70 year old man. What a bad joke of genetic mutations! Stuff like that makes me wonder “Who’s in control around here, anyway?”
Out of his great pain, Rabbi Kushner wrote a book, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People”. It’s a classic. I loved reading it. I had the privilege of hearing him speak in person. We all listened intently. You could hear a pin drop in the room, but his conclusion was that there are some things God just can’t do. He said, “If a person points a gun at you and pulls the trigger, you just can’t expect God to jump in front of you and deflect the bullet”. God is no mythical superman! If God could have prevented the Holocaust and He didn’t, then that would prove that God is some kind of irresponsible monster.” He wasn’t willing to go there. He concluded that God cares. When we weep, God weeps with us.
I like it, except for one thing. If there are some things that God cannot do, then it’s time to redefine God. You can’t really say he is “Omnipotent – all-powerful”--not if there are some things He cannot do. If there are some things God cannot do, then He really isn’t in charge of everything. If God cannot control everything, then some things are out of control!