February 2021

God is still in control no matter what: Delineating the theological

principles upon which this statement is constructed.

Discussing some of the misconceptions and misunderstandings associated

with this profound theological formulation, 'God is still in control no matter

what,' is vital to comprehending sources used by people of faith to draw from

and help construct this position statement for the life journey. When we

verbalize this profound statement, we are, in a few words, summarizing and

acknowledging the fundamental truth, which is central to our Christian faith.

This position emanates from a deep sense of gratitude for who we are as

children of God. We appreciate that the Good News's transforming power can

mend the broken hearts and heal our troubled world. Hence, when we say,

'God is still in control no matter what,' we are submitting, repositioning, and

aligning ourselves with the transforming power of God's word. We are

affirming the Good News and the love of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ

for humanity.

The Apostle John cogently articulated the basis for Christ's ministry on earth

in John 10:10 this way, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I

have come that they may have life and have it to the full." Although the

opposing forces are always with us here on earth to steal our peace, destroy

our hope and kill our physical bodies, we also know that the coming of Christ

was to bring the Good News and assurance for us to have the fullness of life.

Christ came to show the way and model how to live life fully. Jesus

demonstrated this through His ministry, suffering, death, resurrection, and

ascension, which are the centerpieces of our Christian faith. Hence, we don't

say, 'God is still in control no matter what,' to appease or console ourselves

as we go through hard times, but as a way of professing the faith that has

developed from the knowledge of the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 18: 1 said, "For the message of the cross is

foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the

power of God." Although sometimes our faith can be perceived and described

as an act of foolishness, the truth of the matter is that we know who we are

and how we have experienced God's love and grace amid frustrations, pain,

and even loss. When we go through these experiences, we sense the abiding

presence of God articulated in the Good News. We affirm what the Apostle

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5: 7, "For we live by faith, not by sight."

While we acknowledge that presence, we also know that no words can

adequately express the deep connection we feel in knowing who is on our side

in times of pain and sorrow. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel used the word

'ineffable' to describe the unexplainable spiritual feeling we have when we

encounter the power of the Holy. We may not explain them, but experiences

of the Divine in the scriptures can be appreciated and can instill in us hope

and peace and gratitude for the presence of God known to us as Emmanuel.

The Divine's ineffable nature inspires us to humble ourselves and trust God

beyond what human words can conceive.

'God is still in control no matter what.' Uttering this faith statement does not

mean we are merely numbing our physical pain or using it as a coping

mechanism. Still, we acknowledge our present realities while expressing our

faith in the one we trust. In the scriptures, we have seen how Jesus Christ

handled the emotional, spiritual, and physical pain experienced during His

ministry. Scriptures tell us that He was not immune to emotional pain and loss.

In John 11: 33 – 35, Jesus mourned the death of his friend Lazarus. In Matthew

27: 45 – 47, Jesus was in physical pain on the cross, and He prayed in agony.

In Matthew 23: 37, He was troubled in spirit when he saw that people would

not heed his words. All these scriptures assure us that God knows who we are

and understands what we are going through. Through Jesus's pain and

suffering, we see God's grace and love and know that our God is not just a

God of the better times. God does not cease to be God because we are going

through tough times. We attest that our faith is built on God's promises and

not on current experiences. Through the scriptures, we are comforted and

assured not to worry about what we cannot control but remember Emmanuel,

God who is always with us.

When we say, 'God is still in control no matter what,' we affirm the

experiences we have seen in the scriptures and the examples of people who

have kept the faith during pain, suffering, and loss. We draw strength from

these examples of faith even when things seem hopeless. Luke 6: 45 says, "A

good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an

evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth

speaks what the heart is full of." We speak our faith out of knowledge of God's

word and all its promises to humanity. Through this, we locate and reposition

ourselves in the scriptures and turn our anxieties into hope and not terror. Locating and repositioning ourselves in the scriptures allows the scriptures to

become alive again in our lives while making sense of the challenges we are

going through in life. Jeremiah 29: 11 says, "For I know the plans I have for

you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to

give you hope and a future." We speak faith because we know what God has

in store for us.

On February 17, 2021, we are starting the season of Lent in our Christian

calendar. This 40-day period is essential for us to reflect, fast, and pray for

forgiveness as we remember the suffering, the death, and the resurrection of

our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Take this time to renew your faith

and position your life with the will of God for your life. Remember, this is the

reason we say, 'God is still in control no matter what.' Because of Lent, we

know that God's love is still enough for us no matter what we are going

through in life.

Stay strong. Keep the faith. Trust God no matter what.Stay blessed and see you Sunday.