God Is in Control

Faith Matters

In May 2001 Todd and Kristin Lighty were getting ready to run a mini-marathon in Indianapolis. They and their two children, Brandon and Melissa, piled into the family Saturn and set off. They never made it to where they were going.

In one horrifying moment, their car went out of control, crossed the median, and struck a car in the oncoming lane. A tractor trailer, unable to stop in time, smashed into their car. Two-year-old Brandon sustained minor injuries, and Melissa developed an aneurysm that landed her in the hospital for two months. The report on Todd and Kristin was even worse. Their injuries left them unable to walk, talk, feed themselves, recognize each other, or care for their children.

Todd and Kristin entered rehabilitation together. After two months of grueling therapy, the couple began to remember each other again. Therapists contended they recovered faster than normal because they spent time together. They found the friendship of medical staff, therapists, family, and each other reflected the community they needed to heal.

At a Turning Point

God’s sovereignty was never meant to be an abstract concept—it’s personal and relational. We human beings experience God’s sovereignty when we’re bushwhacked by real life and reintroduced to the powerful Lord of heaven and earth.

We worry about the next terrorist attack. We become preoccupied with dirty bombs, homeland security, finding Osama Bin Laden, and war in Iraq. We’re scared about what tomorrow will bring into our lives.

But God pursues us in the midst of our anxious thoughts, reminding us he loves us. God’s rule helps us to recognize him again through life’s current events.

We are desperate to finish the race called life with as little pain and interruption as possible. We’re concerned only with the things we can manage ourselves. Then life goes out of control like Todd and Kristin’s car and we find ourselves in a mangled mess—a crisis.

In the Greek, crisis literally means “turning point.” God’s sovereignty comes looking for us when we find ourselves at the crossroads of life and are met with our inability to control the outcome.

Back to the Building Blocks

The apostles constantly found themselves returning to the basic building blocks of biblical faith: experiencing and proclaiming the relational sovereignty of God through the personal witness of Jesus in their lives.

Like the apostles, we too can recover the power of community and God’s relational sovereignty in our lives with zeal, courage, and freedom.

When Christians are blindsided by life, like Todd and Kristin were, we often rush to a gathering of friends to help us to believe afresh “that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven” (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1). When we pray for each other, we enter into a community where God’s personal rule grips our hearts and pulls us into something spacious and powerful: God is for us, not against us. God has said “yes” to us in Christ.

When we sing a simple children’s song like “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know,” we put into practice the knowledge that our fragile faith can be transformed into the experiential truth of God’s rule. When the world, the flesh, and the devil threaten our lives, we can still “speak [God’s] word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29). God is king, this I know!

God’s sovereignty has a personal name. His name is Jesus. God enters into the messes of life and brings himself to us. When the going gets tough, God desires that we recognize him again and go tell the story of his rule in our lives and in the world.

We Believe...

“All things—from crops to grades, from jobs to laws—are under God’s control.” —Our World Belongs to God, stanza 13 (Psalter Hymnal, p. 1023)

About the Author

Reginald Smith is director of race relations and social justice for the Christian Reformed Church. He attends Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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