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Is God Really In Control?

Hardships a part of life. When they come, we often ask ourselves where is God in our trouble and is God really in control.  #Biblestudy #Job #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

 

Sometimes our lives turn upside down for a season.

-An exciting pregnancy turns into a miscarriage.

-A routine check-up turns into a discovery of cancer.

-A typical car ride turns into a wreck that leaves you with broken bones.

-Or worse, a family member dies unexpectedly…

And we wonder – is God really in control of everything?

When storms hit and trials come into our lives, raw emotions bubble up under the surface and begin to overflow.  We begin to ask God questions and we wonder…does he care? Does God love me?  Is He in control?

After the attack of 9/11, churches were filled for weeks.  People were drawn to God and looking for answers.  The shock and horror led us to wonder…

Is God in control of everything?

Yes, a thousand times yes!

Every page of scripture points to a sovereign God – from the creation account in Genesis to the return of Christ in Revelation, our God is in complete control.

Job acknowledged God’s sovereignty in Job 1:21:

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.

In Job 2:10, again Job affirms the sovereignty of God when he says to his wife:

Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?

But trusting God and acknowledging his sovereignty, when life hurts, is terribly difficult.

And so that brings us to Job chapters 38 and 39.  These are some of my favorite chapters in the Bible because God Himself is speaking and He puts his power on display.  It’s when I focus on God’s power that I can rest in his sovereignty.  I find comfort in these words.

{I can’t post the entire passage here because of it’s length…but here’s a taste.}

God said:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
~Job 38:4-7

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
    or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war?
24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
    or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
~Job 38:22-24

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in their thicket?
41 Who provides for the raven its prey,
    when its young ones cry to God for help,
    and wander about for lack of food?
~Job 38:39-41

“Do you give the horse his might?
    Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
20 Do you make him leap like the locust?
    His majestic snorting is terrifying.
21 He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;
    he goes out to meet the weapons.
22 He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
    he does not turn back from the sword.
23 Upon him rattle the quiver,
    the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
    he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25 When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’
    He smells the battle from afar,
    the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
~Job 39:19-25

God did not just create the heavens and the earth but he is continually sustaining the heavens and the earth.  The book of Job not only reveals God’s sovereignty but also his power, might, grandeur, and wisdom.

There is no one like our God!

And so you may ask…the most difficult theological question anyone can ask:

Why does God allow evil?

Oh friends, I don’t want to pretend to fully understand the answer to this question. As a matter of fact, as I thought about how I would answer this – I grew fearful of giving a trite answer.  I know some of you are dealing with incredibly painful situations.

Job had lost all of his children, all of his wealth and his health.  He had repeatedly asked God, “Why?” and after many chapters of his friends giving him bad advice, God finally spoke.

When God spoke, He did not answer Job’s questions of “Why?”  Instead, He reminded Job of how great, powerful, mighty and good He is.  He put all of His sovereignty on display and in chapter 40, Job put his hand over his mouth and went silent.

When we truly see how powerful our God is, our questions are silenced – we can simply rest in Him.

God existed before the creation of the world.  He brought the universe into existence.  He is in control.  It is through good and evil that we see his full character on display – his wrath, his justice, his deep love and mercy and grace.  We would not understand the depth of the kindness and forgiveness of God if we were not being saved from our sins.  Evil comes from Satan and the fall in the garden of Eden.  We have all sinned.  God has allowed evil so we can understand the magnitude of His love and that He might be glorified forever when in the end, He triumphs over evil.

God knows – it’s not answers to the questions of “why?” that we need.

It’s God that we need.

God IS the answer!

Whatever you are facing today – you can rest in God’s love and care for you.  Your trial is meant to point you to God. Your suffering is meant to point you to God.  Your losses are meant to point you to God. Why? Because God knows HE is your greatest need and when you have HIM – you can have peace and joy in the midst of your storm.

Our trials remind us, this world is not our home.

We are just passing through.

Our life is but a vapor – it’s short.

Eternity is FOREVER!

In the end, God triumphs over evil!

If you are tired of crying – take comfort in this: Revelation 21:4 tells us – in heaven there will be no more tears.

Keep trusting in our mighty God.  He loves you so.

Walk with the King,

Courtney 

After we finish our study in the book of Job, we will begin the Book of Mark on March 7th – it’s perfect to prepare our hearts for Easter!   Invite your friends and join us!

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34 Comments

  1. Thank you Courtney for reminding us to put down worries and hurts and.let God do the healing. This world is not our home. I pray for the ladies reading your blog. Blessing to you
    ? ,
    ^^^^0^^^^

  2. “Whatever you are facing today – you can rest in God’s love and care for you. Your trial is meant to point you to God. Your suffering is meant to point you to God. Your losses are meant to point you to God. Why? Because God knows HE is your greatest need and when you have HIM – you can have peace and joy in the midst of your storm.”
    So you are telling me God is allowing these horrible things to happen simply to have us look to Him? What kind of God would want us to be miserable and suffering, simply to make Himself look bigger and better? He wants to prove how great HE is by showing us what misery HE can inflict, allow, oversee in our life but yet we are to trust Him? We are to turn to Him in our deepest misery and instead of care & comfort, God who is suppose to be loving, instead gives us a lecture in how wonderful He is…and that is suppose to help us how? We are to serve and give everything to a God who takes delight in seeing us miserable simply so we will turn to Him? I’m sorry but these are the confusing trite answers that make people run…from God, from Christianity…because it doesn’t make any sense, nor provide any comfort. It simply makes people angry that God can be so cruel to people who love Him.

    1. We don’t know why God allows things to happen Kate. We can’t see the whole picture. Look at what Job lost…really look at all the people and things he lost while everyone around him was telling him to curse God. Yet he wouldn’t. He understood that if God is Lord of your life then he is Lord NO MATTER WHAT.
      Another example is look at all the things Jesus was tempted with by Satan in the desert just so he would do the same which was turn his back on God. Yet he refused to give in to Satan attacks.
      We as Christians are never promised a life of leisure and no pain. In fact scripture says to expect the opposite because Satan is going to use anything to get Christians to turn their back on God.
      Thankfully God promises to never leave us even in our times of trials and suffering. He promises to help us through and comfort us and it is all to the glory of His Name.
      I pray this helps you in this time of need for you.

    2. Kate, I am so sorry that you are conflicted with the wisdom in this post. I remember feeling like you not so long ago. God doesn’t force us into situations to make Himself look more powerful…..He is bigger than any trial He can put into our paths! He doesn’t need to make Himself look more powerful, He simply is.

      I think what Courtney was trying to say is that we are all so small. The trials and hard times that we face are terrible and they hurt so badly. It can make us question God. Question life in some circumstances. Ultimately, God is there to build us up no matter where we are in life. I was always told that there are two paths that we can take. We have free will, right? So no matter what direction we go, God has a plan and He is there to left us up. Sometimes what we go through reminds us of how great He is…..we are humbled before Him. Not because He wants us to go through terrible times, not because He wants to flex His muscles and show us all He is awesome…….but because He loves us so much.

      If you don’t mind, I would love to pray for you?? Pray that God helps you with understanding and shining some light on things that are upsetting to you.

    3. If you truly know who God is, it doesn’t seem cruel. Gods not the reason that there’s sin and suffering, we are a fallen people in a fallen world. Started in the garden. I’m sorry for whatever you are facing right now, if you are facing a trial. But turn to God, He loves and cares for you with a love so unlike anything in this world. And it doesn’t matter how far you’ve run or what you’ve done, he’ll forgive you and love you like nothing ever happened if you turn from your sin and embrace Him!!! Gods blessings to you sweet sister!!! ??

    4. I a Christian who loves my God. But I also can’t agree with the statement. When my 7 year d was diagnosed with cancer I struggled with why would God allow this and this is the answer people love to give. “To point you to Him” “to use this to make me follow hard after Him” and after a year of battling I can say I could disagree more. We live in a fallen world and sin and sadness are part of it. Gods plan was the garden. We were made for heaven. Our heard were not made to carry these burdens. He never leaves us, He is right beside us. He holds my hand through the hurt and pain and listens to my angry cries because my baby was meant to have a perfect body. He loves me more than I love my son. I would never use such a harsh lesson to “make my son love me more or follow my commands” and neither would my loving Heavenly Father. I think we can’t even understand this question and people feel the need to give an answer. Platitudes hurt hurting people and push them from God. Sometimes you just have to say it’s beyond our mortal hearts understanding. I love God He is for me and with me and I’m thankful.

      1. Kate and Chrissie, I agree with both of you. Five and a half months ago, my beautiful daughter accidentally suffocated in a blanket she pulled into her crib during her afternoon nap on her nine month birthday. My husband and I know the cause of her death, but that’s not the reason she died. The reason she died is sin. Not sin she committed. Sin in this fallen, depraved world. That’s why she died. It’s why every one of us will die.

        Knowing this truth does. not. help. us.

        Attempts to answer for God, religious cliches and platitudes and even the Scriptures do. not. bring. comfort. They bring the opposite, because ultimately and unintentionally, they minimize and invalidate pain. Most often, they’re stated at a time and in a way that says, “Don’t hurt–God’s in control! Your loved one’s in Heaven! If you hurt/question/doubt/feel or express anger at God, then you’re really not trusting Him like you should!”

        Bypassing people’s pain in Jesus’ name and trying to get them to hold fast to a future they can. not. face because they can barely breathe long enough to make it to the next hour.

        No, no, no, no.

        Grief is not a problem to be fixed nor an obstacle to overcome because grief is neither a problem nor an obstacle. Grief IS, and we LIVE WITH IT, because it is in direct proportion to the love we have for the person we’ve lost–it is the expression of our love–and that love will. not. end. Neither will the grief. Jesus promised us that those who mourn will be comforted, NOT that the mourning would end.

        Ours won’t. Not ’til Heaven.

        Suffering people need prayers, presence and protective love–love that says, “I will sit with you in the dust and ashes of your life and love you THERE as long as it takes. I’m not going anywhere.” The suffering need people physically BE with them, giving empathy and compassion, not pad answers or advice, even if they’re words are well-meaning or align with Scripture. When Believers just show up and love well in Jesus’ name–many times, saying NOTHING–that’s when we, people who’ve been broken at the deepest human level, experience God’s love for us. THAT’S what makes it possible for people to come to trust Jesus, whether it’s for the first time, or Believers who now have to work through the relationship issues with Christ that come when their lives have been nearly obliterated. It’s long, it’s hard, it’s messy, but it’s authentic, and THAT’S what our God wants more than anything–for us to be real with Him. That realness shows more trust, more faith in Him than any mask-wearing, posturing or performance ever could. And it’s the only thing that makes it possible for Him to bring any amount of healing to a person. It’s what Job, a man who had suffered traumatic loss and grief, experienced. God remained silent and sat with Job in the dust and ashes of his life and let him grieve, and when Job was able to hear God’s voice and be reminded of the truth of who God is, and that He loved Job, despite the death and destruction that sin had brought into his life, God spoke, and Job was able to take it in and actually believe it.

        My husband and I can watch/listen to our church’s sermons online, NOW. We can pray to God and do it with less anger/doubt and fewer questions, NOW. We can have our trusted friends–friends who have not and do not try to “fix us” or spiritually manipulate us–speak truth/Scriptures and pray over us, NOW. I can stand to read a little from the Bible, NOW. Jesus, in HIS time, in HIS way, is slowly wooing our hearts to trust Him like the Hebrew children in the firey furnace–“our God is able to save us (He was able to save our baby), and even if He doesn’t (He didn’t save our baby, not this side of Heaven), it doesn’t change a thing. He’s still God, He still loves us, and He’s still good (even though our daughter dying is utterly horrific, and will never, ever, ever be okay with us).” He’s holding on to us through His people who understand how to live in relationships of grace. They trust Jesus so much with my husband and I and our living children that nothing we say/do frightens them, which gives us the permission and freedom we need to feel the full weight of our loss–a sacred loss filled with devastating pain that we’ll carry for the rest of our earthly lives.

        Jesus loves us in the same. exact. way.

        1. Dear sister, I know no words can ease your pain. Thank you for being open and sharing with us. I am praying for you and your husband.

    5. I am glad to read Kate’s post. After much thought, I have to say I agree with her. It is a common phrase said that our suffering is to make us look at God and to grow closer to Him, but I can totally see Kate’s point. It is an eye opener for us to simply spurt out an easy answer. In doing so we may be having the adverse effect. That is all Kate is saying, that we should open our eyes to see how what we say may have an effect on those trying to understand God and learn about God.

      I do not see anywhere in Job that God’s Word says our suffering is to make us grow closer to Him. Does our suffering result in us growing closer to Him? Of course it does! So there is truth in this statement, but the problem is that this statement does not answer “why” bad things happen to good people and people suffer.

      Here’s an excerpt from my notes for Job 1:13-19
      Sometimes God’s purpose for us has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with someone else. We may never know our purpose. Sin is twisted and makes our world unpredictable and we are not meant to understand all the whys. Sometimes it feels like we are pawns in God and Satan’s chess game, being sacrificed to fulfill God’s purpose for others, but this is not truth. Scripture interprets scripture-this scripture that seems so difficult to read. God loves us. Some causes for suffering: my own sin; the sin of others; avoidable (by preparedness) disasters; unavoidable disasters; to teach fallen angels.

      Therefore, in reflecting on what we learned in the beginning of Job, we see these passages at the end of Job which Kate refers to as “instead gives us a lecture in how wonderful He is” in a different light. Rather than seeing them as Kate writes, we see “God’s lecture” that God knows the full picture and He is in control and He loves me, so although He may be allowing this suffering for reasons unknown to me (Job’s reason was for God to teach satan), reasons totally unrelated to me, or anything I have done or not done, He knows what is best for the entire universe, and I do not.

      It doesn’t matter the reason why. Stop asking why. I saw in the scripture that God saw Job’s asking “why” as judging God (Job 40:2). Stop trying to figure out God and just lean on Him because He loves you. God’s lecture says to me, “hey, look, if I created all this and I am in control of all this, how much more have I “got this” for you, my child, whom I love.”

      1. Bottom line is for me today, in what I just learned from this conversation.

        1. The article is very well written and there is so much good in it and we should focus on all the good.

        2. The articles says, “Oh friends, I don’t want to pretend to fully understand the answer to this question. As a matter of fact, as I thought about how I would answer this – I grew fearful of giving a trite answer. ” and it should have stopped there as that was a great sentence.

        3. But the article continued and had this sentence, “our trial is meant to point you to God. Your suffering is meant to point you to God.” That one sentence shows me that although it is a part true statement, it is also a half-truth, like Elihu’s speaking. When we try to answer the “why” at all, we end up having an “Elihu problem.”

        4. God, in Job, says, “your’re a faultfinder” and that will forever ring in my ears now. The best answer to the question “why” is the one that God gives, and that is that God is in control and that’s all that matters. Stop asking why. When we say things such as “our suffering is so that we can grow closer to God,” we are still trying to answer the question of “why.”

        Have I said these things myself? Yes! So I am thankful to Kate for pointing it out to me how saying these things is still an attempt to answer “why” and so they should not be said. We should merely say, God is all-knowing and that’s good enough for me.”

        I truly believe God allows us the opportunity to be parents to see how he is a parent to us. I love looking at God that way. As a parent, there were times when I told my children they could not do this or that and it felt like suffering to them, but to me knowing the big picture, I knew what was best for them and the whole picture, even if the reasoning had nothing to do with my child. I had to tell my child, just trust me, it is hard for me to explain, but this is what is best for everyone.

        1. Thank you for your feedback everyone.

          My sincere apologies if my blog post above hurt you in anyway.

          My hope is that my blog will always point everyone to God. I am a flawed woman who is here to serve and want to offer my humblest apologies if I did you a disservice. Please forget everything I wrote above and simply go to God in His Word. There you will find your source of hope, joy, peace, love and all wisdom.

          Lots of Love,
          Courtney

          1. You are an amazing women! I learned something today from your blog post and the discussion. Thanks for being brave and stepping out to lead. I know I’ve said before I get scared to share my notes because I am afraid I might mislead someone unknowingly. But if we don’t step out there in humbleness, then there is no fellowship in growing and learning about God together. Your braveness is doing so much for so many. God has worked good through you in so many ways, Courtney. I am very thankful for your post today and for our God who continues to speak to us in His Word as we study together.

          2. Thank you for all you do Courtney. I do not always agree with everything you post, but your passion to bring others to The Lord is wonderful and admirable. It is hard online, everything we type can be taken a different way. So much easier to have a conversation face to face. Again, thank you for the encouragement you bring to us every day.

    6. Dear sister, I was asking the same questions you are about 10 years ago. There were several tragedies and challenging times in my family, and I felt abandoned by the Catholic Church we were attending. I did stop going to church for a while, but then started attending a non-denominational church where I experienced God’s love and grace like never before. I think something that helps in these seasons are supportive family, friends, and church communities. When you feel abandoned by the church, our minds see that as abandonment by God as well.

  3. Yes I couldn’t help but think of all those points while reading Job this morning. It is amazing how God has all those things under control and yet sometimes we fail to give him fill control of our lives. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It has been a blessing to me and I’m sure numerous others.

  4. Thank you, Courtney! I found myself nodding my head and smiling in agreement as I read your words this morning. =)

    1. I am so thankful to all of you wonderful ladies. Your comments are helping me to understand things in a way that I havent been able to. I feel abandoned at times due to the hardships my life is going thru at this time, and it seems the people I want to come to me and support me and help me understand what is going on are christian women that just are not there. So to be able to read a blog may seem uncommon to most, but it is truly most appreciative to me. I applaud each persons honesty and pray that I can continue my journey towards God and understand his word the way all of you are. So again thank you!

  5. Thank you, Courtney, for this encouragement from Job. You answered my prayer: “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.” Ps. 143:8

  6. Courtney, I really liked this. I also struggle with questioning God on why these evil things are happening, but this opened my eyes and reminded me that it’s not the “why” it’s the Who am I going to rest my cares upon—-my sovereign God.

  7. Reminds me of that old hymn “we will understand it better by and by”
    For now we see through a glass darkly, but then(when Christ comes again) we will see face to face!!!

  8. Our suffering here on earth is nothing compared to what JESUS endured on the cross for US! This Lenten season is a reminder to all of us of how much GOD loved us-
    FAITH is what we need when we don’t understand why bad things happen, especially to good people-
    Faith in knowing that HE IS ALWAYS WITH US no matter what! ??

    May God continue to Bless You!

  9. Courtney,
    Thank you so much for writing this! I read it at the exact right moment. I was in a car accident 4 weeks ago today. I was t-boned by a drunk driver, and now have 4 bulging discs that are causing nerve pain. I am getting better slowly with P.T. and chiropractic care, but I am still unable to do much around my house without pain. I have two little boys (6 and 2). I am unable to lift my 2 year old, and it is breaking my heart . This morning has been very trying. Both boys are fussy, I have mountains of housework that I have slowly tried to do, but now I hurt to bad to complete it. I am broken out in an itchy rash all over due to a bad reaction to one of my meds. I keep telling myself that this whole ordeal is giving me a chance to draw closer to God. I know the accident could have been sooo much worse, and I am grateful to God that it wasn’t. My husband has been amazing, and has been helping me in any way he can…but he is at work today. I have already cried twice this morning and was praying that God help me get through the day. I decided to check my e-mail while I sat on my massage pad, and I read this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed a reminder that He is with me always. Even on the worst days. Sorry if this is long winded. this is my first time responding to a post. I appreciated all that you do. the blog, the weekly bible study, your book. Since I began following your blog a year ago, I have learned so much. Thank you again! God bless you.

  10. Amen, Amen, Amen!! God is in control all the time! Hurting sucks and He knows this! He loves us more than we love our own children! “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King would die for me?” The God of all creation loves us in our messy, painful lives and promises to restore all that is lost. We may never understand the why, the when, the where. All He wants is for us to trust and obey and seek Him. Thank you Courtney, I needed reminding of this too today. We are in a trial now and my prayer is that God’s voice of “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” is louder than the raw emotions of “why Lord?”

    1. Thank you. Good link. People must be so careful when speaking to someone hurting to just be with them don’t try to fix them. Be careful when talking to those hurting. God is a good God

    2. Crystal, thank you for sharing that link. I believe if you read to the bottom, though, the article’s author concludes that Job was not wrong in his statement, based upon verse 1:22, immediately following Job’s giveth and taketh statement …”In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

      I appreciate all of the comments on this post. It is growing my faith and understanding of God’s sovereignty!

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