How many of us have heard others say:” Oh; God is in control!”? I felt that it was important for us to look at this statement deeper as it looks like most of the time, we might take it for granted or as an excuse to forbid us to face realities. God is in control only if our lifestyle is in accordance with His leadership, if our choice of accepting Christ Jesus is true, if, when we face challenges, we give praise to God as since we have asked Jesus to be our leader, our spiritual willingness takes over the temptation of our flesh. Can we say that God is in control when we decide to follow men from what they promise to us? Is there any man standing strong to be able to fulfill his commitment toward someone in any circumstances? Who has enough knowledge to be able to state that what he or she says cannot fail?
Consequently, let’s be objective as we are going to see how challenging it is to stand from the choice we have made, leaning on Christ as our leader. The question is: do we truly accept His guidance, as we all know that the more we follow His steps, the more challenge we encounter. When we truly follow Christ, we are faced with the speeding process of discovering human nature. The difference between him and us is that He already knew what Humankind was as He is the beginning and He is in the beginning. He knows, we don’t; He faces but we flee most of the time; He understands and redeems but we either object or reject, we judge stating that we don’t, but most important, sometimes, we never forgive. We are all at the mercy of evil disguises and if we are not constantly awake through the knowledge of it, we might find ourselves fighting against God, without realizing it. Therefore, let’s ask ourselves the following question:
Isn’t it true that when we say that God is in control, our human nature goes against our own statement? Should we say most of the time: God is in control but if I follow His leadership, it might interfere with my lifestyle? The unfortunate observation is that man is trying to control God’s leadership; is it accurate to state that humankind brings darkness into God’s light? How many of us would agree with the following statement: “Even though I know that God is in control, I do it my way because I am absolutely convinced that it is what He wants me to do”. So we do our little business, and when challenge comes, we network through our friends list. Then, when all of our human connections have been contacted and that what had to go right becomes sour, we have the tendency to ask God:” Why have you forsaken me?” It is like going on the ocean with a boat that has a hole in the bottom. Oh, God is in control and my boat will never sink. Let’s think again and let stop sinking voluntarily as if we are navigating on the Lord’s boat, He did not schedule His boat to become an unpressurized submarine.
The leadership of our Father through Christ is the only way we should live our life because He has the knowledge; we don’t. Trials and tribulation are part of life because of human nature. Sometimes we are impatient, we want to go faster to just get rid of challenges. Hardship is difficult to endure sometimes. Constant fighting is tiring but, if we strengthen ourselves, learning with patience and trust in Him on how to manage tribulation, we will not go through the making of difficult lives and hurt feelings, because we have decided to turn and stop becoming the source of a life we want to have our ways.
Consider: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:5, 6). Let’s keep in our heart that through and by faith, we have been justified. If we know that we have been justified, we shall have peace with God, allowing ourselves to follow what God wants for us and therefore, to be able to stand on our statement: “God is in control”, because we are the living testimony of His leadership through our faith and obedience toward Him, we are a justified living witness. We all know the difference between believing and trusting. Why do we trust someone we see and refuse to trust the One we do not see even though, not only we feel Him but we are constantly asking for Him to help us out? Since by faith, we have the access of His grace, by faith we should be able to stand and to rejoice no matter what mankind wants to challenge us with. Rejoicing is a choice many will say but truly I say to you that rejoicing is not a choice when we feel the peace of God within, rejoicing is not a choice when we feel His grace upon us, allowing us to live and breathe; the inexplicable overwhelming joyful feeling of His grace should be sufficient enough for all of us to stand on our statement: God is in control, therefore I am rejoicing in it. The control of God is not what many of us might think. God controls my life, that is because I have surrendered to Him; stopping in my path to fight against His will, as doors that men have shut, He opened it for me, as I stood strong on this divine justification I have received by faith; I have been justified because I justified Him first before man.
Another question might occur asking: why did we receive this justification by faith? The answer is: because we are standing for Christ’s sake and that we have hope through Christ. Since we have seen and felt Christ taking us in, we have seen and felt the Father taking us in through the Son. As a matter of fact, Christians are the only people who can live by hope; hope is a overwhelming holy feeling practically impossible to describe as the joy of it surpasses any other feelings of immense joy and peace. It is true that all men and all women have hope within, not only Christians but it is up to true Christian people to accept to be led in approaching others, so that others can inherit the same justification. Let’s keep in mind that Hope and faith cannot be disassociated. We have hope in the glory of God, we have faith in the glory of God, we have life in the hope of the glory of God, we have hope that at the end of our race, since we have brought the news of the redemption of the world to many, realizing to our amazed observations the multiplication of a seed we have planted, we will be able to see more than that: the evidence of things not seen. Truly I tell you that even though it is easy to make the statement that it is when we have challenges that we must stand on this hope, it really is when we don’t understand events that we shall stand on our faith. It is when unscheduled ‘hits” face us that we have to turn to Him for comfort and for direction from which we will understand these words: “God is in control”. The reason is that we will be able to finally see what we never saw before: the inexplicable transformation of lives and events no one can or could even think of . Accepting and surrendering to God’s control is the most rewarding life anyone can have, trusting God’s control is the most peaceful life anyone can have, even through man made tribulation.
Note: Most of the time, when our lives become or are easy and smooth, we simply forget that God is there. It is not that we want to forget but, it is an unconscious choice we are making by switching from the glory of God into the glory of man and its limited possibilities, not realizing that Christ sent us the Helper through chosen disciples.
God is in control if we are willing to stop driving the car of our life on a bumpy road, when we see that there is a smooth freeway in next to us. Our rejoicing in hope has to take place because of our justification and then, since we give praise in tribulation, giving all up to the control of God, our hardship will smooth out because hardship produces strength through perseverance, and that perseverance through hope and by faith, gives us character and wisdom. The control of God resides not only in the surrendering of our flesh but also in the acceptance of it in our mind, therefore in our lifestyle.
Our trials are like an exam, it is a test of our faith and patience. Let’s not forget that hope is also linked to patience. Patience gives us strength and strength produces wisdom. Patience through determination that is perseverance, brings discernment. Who is in control of discernment? It is not our flesh but the spirit of God within us. We have learnt patience by faith and hope; we have received wisdom through it because patience by faith and hope has its perfect work from which we can become peaceful and complete, lacking nothing. It might come to pass that sometimes we lack of wisdom so that our flesh wants to take over our justification by faith again. When it happens, we should sit back, and ask Him to help us, as we know that He gives to all liberally and without reproach.
Now, consider: Should we ask out of desperation and frustration? Let’s remember that hardship produces strength through perseverance, and that perseverance through hope and by faith, gives us character and wisdom.
Let’s look at these two words: desperation and frustration
a): Desperation: Could we say that desperation is linked to a lack of determination, or isn’t true that desperation is a sign of weakness? The online dictionary defines desperation as: hopelessness, or that someone or something like an event causes despair. Out of despair we can shut down, and also, we can close the door to communication with others. The only recourse we feel is to ask God. Here we are faced with two possibilities; the first one is to ask Him to look at our record toward Him as for the second one, it is to ask Him to look at our poor record. The record we have to have is not to flatten mountains but it is to plant seeds in His Name. It is not to say God bless you to someone as a ritual or a habit but it is to bring His glory before those who are seeking it. Who is seeking God? All of us, including you and me. We are not seeking God out of desperation but we are seeking the glory of God to have peace in our lives. Our lives are and will always be a sequence of trials; since we are believers and we know that He is there not only for us but with us, why should we come to God out of desperation? Why should we be in despair? Instead, why don’t we take a different approach that is to see further than constantly entertaining our weakness? What should be the solution? Consider to stand on this statement: “From desperation comes inspiration”. When we are desperate, it lasts only for a little time compared to the life we have. Then later on we will remember the time where we had to go through but the beauty of it is that we will not remember the feeling of it. We will take it as a lesson of hope through faith.
b): Frustration: A common emotional response to opposition. Frustration is often related to anger and disappointment; it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will, hope or both. The greater the obstruction is as well as the greater the will or hope is, the more discouragement occurs.
These definitions are of the dictionary which means that the definitions are of the flesh and not of the Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord shows us that in the event we fall into the trap of desperation and frustration, we won’t be able to see further than the tip of our shoes. It takes time to realize what the Lord wants us to do when our life is constantly challenged from the devotion we have in the Lord. Let’s keep in mind that God’s way is contrary to man’s way. God’s views are different than man’s views; God’s plans are above any imagination of man’s intelligence, but God’s understanding is above man’s understanding because God realizes how hard it is for men to fight against temptation. He knows the will we have to be with Him again, because He knows that those who have chosen to trust in Him will never be disappointed. He is above of all that is above, He is in the beginning, from the beginning where there was no beginning; therefore, the statement that says:” from desperation comes inspiration” means that what man shuts upon our hope, God opens it upon our faith.
Let’s take an example from the Word; it is about Jeremiah; I believe that you have read his book and that you have realized how many times Jeremiah was desperate and frustrated. The revelation of his endurance comes clearly in the chapter 17, most of all the revelation is his understanding of God’s character. For those who did not have the time to read the book of Jeremiah up to chapter 17, I will invite them to do so that they can see the progression of challenges and turmoil he had to go through and then, they will see Jeremiah’s sudden eyes opening; they will come to the same conclusion as we do:
Whereas in the past we read a complaint spoken out of desperation, we read an affirmation spoken from a position of strength (vs. 14-18)-from one who has seen the dregs of life and who has kept his eyes on God the entire time.
In the past, Jeremiah wondered about God’s ability to save and heal (15:18), now he proclaims that God is the only one who can save and heal.
In the past, Jeremiah complained about scoffers (11:19). He now brushes them aside. In the past, Jeremiah felt the burden of his call (15:16-17), but now he proclaims in victory and thanksgiving that he has not turned aside from God’s purpose.
Let Jeremiah be an example to us all. Taking our eyes off of God and turning them to humanity for our provision and security can bring more uncertainty that we could not be able to endure. We must train ourselves to keep our eyes on the only one who is able to heal and to save; the only one in whom our trust and faith should reside and then, we can proclaim His name and also our incorruptible conviction that truly God is in control.
When we decide to trust in the Lord, the Spirit will lead us, He will teach us, He will tell us, He will allow us or He will not allow us to do things we would like to do. Let’s take another example: In the book of Acts, we find the perfect example of the guidance of the Spirit in chapter 16, verse 6, 7; let’s bring a little reminder here as that is in this precise chapter that Paul will meet a man of great reputation; his name was: Timothy. As Paul meets with him, He convinces him to follow and that will be the beginning of one of the greatest relationship Paul has had as a Christian leader as well as with Barnabas and Titus.
Acts 16, verses 6 and 7. It is written:
”6 - Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, THEY WERE FORBIDDEN BY THE HOLY SPIRIT to preach the Word in Asia.
7 – After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia but THE SPIRIT DID NOT PERMIT THEM.”
One of the most powerful examples of the Spirit not allowing ministers to preach is contained in chapter 3 of the book of Ezekiel where it is written:
26 - “I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you can be mute and not be to rebuke them for they are a rebellious house”
27-“ But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them:” He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house”. (Ez 3:26, 27)
How did the Spirit stopped Paul to go into the cities he projected to visit is not known or that perhaps, the Lord had a new ‘route’ for him to take and that probably, other hands were already at work in Asia at the time, or that the people were not ready to receive the Word in their heart. Whether is how the Spirit of the Lord manifested Himself is unknown, or not expressed or described, the main thing is that each and every one of us will feel the presence of the Spirit when we are truly following the direction that the Lord has placed before us. If we say that God is in control, let not try to take over His direction to glorify ourselves or to prove something to whomever wants to listen to our personal exploit; it will become nothing later on.
I have been down that road many times in the past, especially in the beginning of my career as a minister of the Gospel. The reason for it is that what the Lord wanted me to do was not making any sense to me. Facts are that months later, signs came before me that He was right and that I was terribly wrong. We all know that since love was given to us at the time of our creation, love dwells with us no matter what but, even though our heart wants to act upon our desire to make people understand the power of the Gospel of Christ as well as the living presence of the Father through the Son living in us, we might have tendency to push too much on our needs to see miracles happening into the lives of people as we experienced it ourselves. There is a time where He will allow it but also, there is a time where it will not be permitted through a divine sign reminding us that God is in control. It is when we see signs and wonders follow that we know that we are doing His job.
Earlier, I mentioned to you the definition of frustration. The reason was that, even though the Spirit of the Lord will send us somewhere, it can happened that we, humans, do not see any result at first and that we might do it all over again, not once, not twice but many times. Do you remember when the Lord was telling Moses to go and tell the Pharaoh to execute His will in the beginning? Instead of an expected obedience from the Pharaoh, not only the children of Israel were deprived and forced to respect a quota without the necessary tools but Moses and Aaron were insulted:” And they said to them:” Let the Lord look on you and judge because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hands to kill us” (Ex 5 21). In the next verse, we observe Moses’ discouragement and frustration; as he picked up on the Lord.
22-” So Moses returned to the Lord and said:” Lord why have You brought more trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?”
23-For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people, neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
How many of us can relate to a similar situation when we know that we have been led by the Spirit to observe God’s control but that we do not see it first hand? The answer is that our nature is to see results quickly, practically immediately when we know that people are suffering. We do have tendency to see a magic popping up out of nowhere, like illusion shows we can either watch on television or otherwise. We just forget that we are servants, living vessels, breathing messengers whose goals are set on high but not on earth. I have seen people reacting like Moses did and to confess, I am one of them. I was expecting for people of opposition to fall on their faces and act upon from the message I was bringing to them. I was expecting to see it right away for one reason: my own relief. I needed to see the power of God through me instead of seeing how God was using me to show His power. There is a difference between the two as I want to see the power of God through me, I was to see myself as a powerful human being; but if I am humble enough to observe what the Lord is going to do through His message through me, I will see His power more than expected. I remember that in Pakistan, He sent me to rescue thousands in an area no one wanted to go. As a matter of fact, the area was so filthy that the people who were living there were considered like the pest of the area. Today, this area is one of the most blessed and respected place where Christian churches and organizations of all kinds and types are coming from all over the world to show their love to the same people who were rejected before. That is when I understood better the same words He said to Moses in the first verse of the 6th chapter of Exodus:” Then the Lord said to Moses:” Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land”
God is in control when we accept His leadership; He will help us upon our determination to follow Him (Is 50:7) since we are determined to follow Him through Christ Jesus (Mk 8:34-38).
Today, the Lord sent me to you to fulfill His desire from your calls and cries as well as from your supplication but also from your praises and worship. Children of God living where you are right now, if you want to see the hand of the Lord removing your suffering, that you can go, just keep in your heart that no one controls God, no one will make Him fall even though they try, no one can even pretend to lead Him or deceive Him because, since the beginning and until the ones He has chosen dwells with Him forever, God will always be in control of our lives, He will always be in control of your destiny. If you feel captive today, listen to His messenger and just follow without asking; if you feel pressured and do not know how you can make it, just listen to His messenger and follow without asking. Participate in the making of your own freedom, participate in the ordinance of using your rights to truly believe; you will be able to see the wonders of His own words:” Now you shall see what I will do”.
Plant His seed, water it, sit back and watch it grow as truly I tell you:” God is in control”.
Now, to conclude this first part of God is in Control, in the event where some would be still doubting, I need to share the following with you. It is about how Peter was freed from a prison in which he was thrown.
1-“ Now about that time, Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.
2- Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 - And because he saw that it pleases the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
4- So, when he arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads is soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after the Passover.
5- Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered for him by the church.
6- And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
7- Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up saying:” Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands.
8- Then the angel said to him:” Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did; and he said to him:” put on your garments and follow me.”
9- So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
10- When they passed the first and second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
11- And when Peter had come to himself, he said:” Now I know for certain that the Lord had sent His angel and delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”
12- So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.
13- And as Peter knocked at the door o the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.
14- When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not opened the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate.
15- but they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said:” It is an angel”.
16- Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished”.
Observe here: all this happened because of two major things: Peter’s confidence in the Lord but also, the gathering of the church constantly praying for him; people of true faith who understood and has only one thing in common: God is in control.
But, what is the control of God we are talking about? What is the definition of His control? The answer is too easy for us to sometimes realize it: The control of God is simply the love of God for all. His direction is not about punishment but about protection; His purpose is not about judgment but about peace; His commandment is not about strict rules but about a strict remembering of who He is. Our lifestyle should be based on what man calls the law of God as in reality, it is about the ultimate and highest respect that any child should follow.
God is in control and, because of the strength of these words, a strange warmth comes upon us, surrounding each one of us with an inexplicable feeling of peace.
If you want to write to Pastor Bernard, you can email him at: email@example.com
If you wish to support his mission of peace around the world, you can send your contribution to:
First International Doer’s Ministries
P.O. Box 2066
Los Alamitos, CA, 9070 - USA