Friday, June 13, 2014

Who is in Control?

Don't you sometimes wonder?  Is God really controlling things in the world, or is he sitting up in Heaven watching us, to see what we will do?  Is there a reason for all of the trouble in the world?  Are humans really directly responsible for climate change?  Can we make a difference if we live differently?  Can one person cause anything to change, all by themselves?  What is our responsibility to the planet?  The country?  The state?  The family?  Our God?

Responsibility starts young!
We have been studying the book of Haggai in Sunday School.  That's not one of those books you hear about too often, but it's pretty convicting.  The Israelites had been allowed to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, but somewhere along the way they got sidetracked with their own needs and left off the building program.  Haggai was a prophet, who told them they had better get back to what God told them to do.  The striking part, for me, was that God told them He was influencing the weather for the worse.  He had sent a drought, hail, and mildew, so that all of their hard work was going to waste.  The people weren't being lazy.  They were planting their crops and taking care of them as well as they could.  But they weren't gathering in what they should have.  The fruit trees weren't producing like they should have.  Things were not going well at all.  God told them that the earth was not producing because the people were not obeying Him.

Ugh!  Do we work harder and harder, but things just get more expensive?  Do employers keep heaping on more responsibilities which we have to try to accomplish in the same time?  Does the government keep demanding more in taxes?  Does it seem like no matter how hard we work, we are ending up with less and less?  It seems that way from here.

You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.  Haggai 1:6

Does this sound familiar?  The next verse says "Give careful thought to your ways."  

What were the Israelites doing that was so wrong?  They were focused on themselves, and not on God.  They were spending all of their effort on their own needs, and disregarding what God told them to do.  Building houses isn't wrong.  Planting gardens isn't wrong.  Ignoring God is wrong, and we do it at our own peril.

We do have a responsibility.  What we do does matter.  But not in the way we think it does.  All of the recycling and green living in the world will not make a difference if we think we can do it without God.  We feel bad for the starving, war-torn nations of the world, while we worry about not having enough money to go to the movies.  If we were obeying God's commands, wouldn't everyone have enough?  

I'm preaching to myself, here.  This whole concept is bothering me.  I don't know why I was born in the United States, and not in the Sudan.  Why my family has a house when there are people living on the street.  Why I can be concerned about buying gluten-free food for my son while people are starving.  I don't know, but I think I must have more responsibility than most.  And I don't quite know what that responsibility is, because I am afraid to ask.  I am afraid that it would mean giving up the comfort that I do have.  I am afraid that more is required of me than I want to give.  I am afraid that obeying God would be hard.  So I go along giving Him lip service.  I teach Sunday School and play piano in church.  I try to stay away from things that are corrupt.  But it's still all about me.  

I read about people like Katie Davis, who moved to the other side of the world to help some of the poorest people in Uganda.  And I say, "why not me?"  But then I answer the question - I have a family.  I have responsibilities.  Who will play piano and teach Sunday School?  I can't leave.  I can't take things away from my own children in order to help children I don't know.  What kind of mother would I be if I did that?  But what kind of mother am I if I teach my kids that the world revolves around them and their needs?  I am raising another selfish generation as the world slowly spins down.

If God didn't spare his chosen people, but put them through hardship because of their self-centeredness and 
lack of obedience, why do we think he'd let us get away with it?  Why do we have the conceited notion that we are the cause and the cure of the world's ills?  Why do we go on thinking we can have it all, without paying the price?

The truth is, we are not in control.  Our governments are not in control.  God made this world, and he can destroy it just as easily.  But he won't.  Not yet.  But it's coming.  He has promised us that.

Where will you be when it happens?  Which side will you be on?  Where will you spend your eternity?  Because there will be eternity.  And where you spend it depends on what you decide now.  God promises that if you accept Him now, you will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  If, however, you reject Him, you will be in Hell.  And it won't be a good place to be.

 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:14-15

We need to change our ways.  I need to change.  This life is fleeting, but eternity lasts forever.  All of the organic food in the world won't matter when it's all over and done with.  We have to turn away from our selfishness and pride, and turn toward God and His ways.  We have to humble ourselves, and ask for forgiveness.  

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


  1. I have found myself having this very same conflict, on many occasions. I know that you and I may not share all of the same beliefs when it comes to religion, but we are both sharing in this same internal struggle. My thoughts are this.

    As parents, we raise our children,and we try and teach them right from wrong. We try our very best to instill in them good character, and morality. But there comes that day when we have to let them start making their own choices. And we pray they make the right ones. We can offer guidance, but the final decisions made for THEIR lives, will be the ones made BY them. We are not always going to like the decisions that they make, but we will keep on loving them. Because that is what parents do.

    I believe the same holds true for God. He is the ultimate parent. He gave us free will. He sent us into this life, and he allows us to make our own choices. He offers us guidance, sometimes as the little voice inside our heads, other times in louder ways, but ultimately, the final decision made comes from us. He may not always like it, but continues to love us, because that is what parents do !

    I know your children, and they are smart, and loving, and giving. You not only encourage them in there charity and generosity , but you give of yourself right there next to them. They are raised with values, and morality, not because it is preached to them, but because it is seen my them in YOUR actions and choices.

    Perhaps not right now, but in a few years, when they are a bit older, maybe look into doing a Family Mission trip through the church. As a home schooling family, you are not limited to summer vacations to do one either. There are so many options, both in the US and abroad. Just something to think about.

    1. Going on a mission trip is a good idea. It does make you realize how good you have it, when you see how other people live. Thank you for your kind words!


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