How many times have you heard the phrase “God is in control”? Songs have been written about that including the like-titled Christian hit by Twila Paris that won a 1995 Dove Award. Another song called “You Are in Control” I heard many times at the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida.
Some Christians believe the Lord orchestrates every detail of a person’s life. Calvinists in particular like to quote Romans 8:29-30 which talk about people being “predestined.” It would behoove Calvinists to read the previous verse. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Notice this promise doesn’t apply to everyone but to those who love God.
Man has a free will and can choose to follow his own devices (Jeremiah 18:12). Therefore, he is responsible for his actions and cannot use the old Flip Wilson excuse “the devil made me do it.” Numerous Scriptures talk about self-control. Galatians 5:23 lists that as one of the fruits of the Spirit.
Even nonbelievers can recognize the folly of the claim “God is in control.” In his book “The Art of Intercession,” Kenneth E. Hagin talked about an agnostic TV commentator who stated, “...ministers say, 'God has everything under control. He's running everything.' Well, if He is, He sure has things in a mess.”
Psalm 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men.” God may be running the universe but has given stewardship of this planet to man. God has given him the freedom to make certain choices including his eternal destiny.
When I’m out evangelizing, I’m often asked how there can be a God when they see so much evil happening. I point out Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV) who comes “...to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). People can choose which god they will submit to. Before I leave the house for the day, I ask the Lord to order my steps (Psalm 37:23). Still I can choose to disobey the Holy Spirit’s leadings and walk into places I shouldn’t be in.
So is God really in control? Events prophesied in the Bible such as Jesus' birth, death and resurrection were predestined. The Second Coming will happen regardless of what every person does on this earth. However, events of lesser significance may or may not occur depending on our obedience and how much we intercede for others.
It would be more accurate to say, “God will guide and protect those who obey Him.”
“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” - Genesis 4:7 (NLT)