When I was in high school, I devoured news articles and reports on current events. I competed in extemporaneous speaking and tidily resolved the Middle East crisis several times with eloquent oration. I was the geek who hung on every word of the State of the Union address and actually transcribed a couple of them word for word so that I could use quotes in my speeches. Oh, what Google would have meant to me!
But now I would like to turn off the news and pretend none of it is going on. I know a couple of people who have done that, and I wonder if they are better for it.
- A plane inexplicably lost, for months, and another shot down in a war zone, leaving hundreds of families grieving—in one case because of no answers and in the other because of the harsh realities of disrespect and desecration.
- Families torn by war, with rockets taking fierce aim from the sky.
- A disease with no cure and virtually no attention until White American doctors contracted it.
- People held captive in tyrannical nations with no immediate hope of freedom.
So many heart-wrenching stories combine—and now seem to combine more rapidly than ever before—for a sinking feeling that the world is spinning in ways that are unsettling and that we cannot control.
With the psalmist we plead (Psalm 2:1 NIV), “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?”
It doesn’t take long to wonder where in the world is God in the midst of it all. What is he doing? Why doesn’t he make it all go away? And how long will I be able to go on bike rides and pick apples from my back yard apple tree before tragedy strikes closer to home?
In the midst of wrestling with a king’s orders that could have meant death for Daniel and his friends, Daniel was given a dream with information from God about the future. On waking he exclaimed (Daniel 2:20-21 Amplified), “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever! For wisdom and might are His! He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings [emphasis mine].He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding! He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him!”
The mind wrestles with that because don’t we argue and persuade and vote? And don’t nations rise up all on their own, taking center stage or not because of their own accomplishments or failings? Well, yes . . . and no, see? I want so badly to fix the world’s problems that I forget God is working out a grand plan in which each of us plays a significant but small part.
Understanding that God is in control does not mean we should not work toward peace, take care of our brothers and sisters around the world, and support just causes. After all, God calls us over and again in the Bible to take care of “the alien, the fatherless and the widow” (Deut. 26:12 NIV). Psalm 82:3-4 (NIV) encourages, almost chastises, “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
While I strive to bring change to areas that I am passionate about, I can rest peacefully in my heart and mind—or at least really try to—knowing that God will work his will and his way. He sees every detail of the mother’s broken heart. He knows how all the pieces of lives and nations fit into a larger picture that he is allowing to be created. He is sovereign, capable, all-sufficient. He’s got it.
Through it all, the cries of his people do not go unheard (Psalm 56:8 NLT): “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
And my idyllic world of apple trees and bike rides is touched by deep personal sadness closer to home. And this same God who sets up kings and deposes them also works out a masterful plan in the midst of pain. And I strain and see and take in his overwhelming and unfailing love. What I thought was rescue over one thing was really rescue from something deeper and bigger, and how could I have known? But God knew.
Oh, God, that we would trust you even when the way seems hard and the world seems out of control. Because you see, you know, and you intercede with a grander plan than we can ever know.
By Christine Drews. Chris loves spending time in God’s Word and noticing God’s hand at work. She telecommutes as a senior developmental editor for a small publishing house. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, bicycling, sports spectating, and influencing the children in her life. This is the sixth post in a series about Growing in Trusting God. The first post is here.