Who is in Control?
Have you ever asked yourself the question: who is in control? In a week where article 50 has been triggered, we may ponder how much power the politicians can exercise of their own will? How much is influenced by the people, who, indirectly control the politicians? Or, what about the world as created order? Are we doomed as a result of our own mismanagement of the planet? Or, will God intervene; perhaps he is already doing so? Not to mention, who is in control of us? If God is, why do we still make mistakes, get sick, do the wrong thing, no matter how hard we try to do the right things? As Paul once said, ‘what a wretched man I am!’, seemingly unable to control his own body. Who then, is in control.
Just last week I phoned a helpline to get some help to fix a problem with my computer. I bought this laptop a few months ago but, for some reason, could not get one of my printers to work from it. I should have done it sooner, as I had paid an extra premium in order to call on the services of an I.T. expert any time I had a problem, because they were true to their word and fixed the problem.
However, it took some time and considerable searching around in files, located deep in the bowels of this machine, before things were put right. I have to say that I found it a little disconcerting to hand over the controls of my computer to a stranger. This person was able to access it and remotely search through things until he found the fault. As I watched, the cursor on the screen moved around at his will and not mine. Here was the place where I stored all of my personal information, banking details, all sorts of data normally only accessed by me and it was in the control of another.
I guess the analogy of a computer for our innermost being is not far wrong. We process masses of information, prioritise our lives and generally organise things to suit ourselves. But, do we really? How much are we controlled by others in e.g. abusive relationships, through the media or other means. We like to think we are in control…but!
Handing over control to another is a bit scary. But handing things over to God, is not the same as being controlled in a way that robots or computers are. He has given us free will but sometimes we make mistakes or bad decisions. However, as Paul explains in Romans 7-8, it is to the Spirit that we can surrender control, become slaves to, and not the law. Therefore, we will make mistakes but can walk with the one who is our constant guide and director. Whom else then, could we possibly surrender control to? He, after all, is the one who is control of all things.
Yet, ‘the creation groans’, ‘as in the pains of childbirth’, as God patiently bears with humanity, gives them space to consider; what a different world we would live in if we surrender complete control to him. One day, I believe, we will see the created order renewed and restored. Meanwhile, we must wait and live in that hope and pray, in the spirit:
…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will…
What a comfort then to know that, in surrendering control to him, he, who searches our hearts, knows best.
A Morning Invocation
Ordinary God bringing Heaven in the detail,
by weather forecast and pip,
by kettle boil,
by sound of washing up,
by pattern seat on bus,
by lingering a moment with colleague,
by reflection of self in charity shop window,
by kind word said at the check-out
by smile at unexpected mail,
by over-cooked ready meal,
by mild amusement in flicker of tv screen,
by pleasing smell of new soap,
your living presence is with us
as we do the little things we do this day.
May the blessing of our day-in-day out God be upon me.
Grant me a little love, a little shelter, a little bread.
Teach me to so honour what you have given,
that I need not hold it,
but give it away trusting that your faithfulness will provide again morning by morning.
 Romans 7:24
 Romans 8:26-27
 Tess Ward, The Celtic Wheel of the Year: Celtic and Christian Seasonal Prayers (Hants UK: O Books, 2007), 61-62