“I’ve got no strings
So I have fun
I’m not tied up to anyone
They’ve got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me”
Of course, God is in charge. I know God is sovereign, in control of his creation, and his plans will ultimately prevail.
But, I also believe in free will and the freedom God gives us to make our own choices and decisions – either in alignment with his will, or not. God is NOT a puppet master, controlling our every move. God let’s us choose, even when our choices are catastrophic.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”
The primary question I’ve wrestled with, since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has been, “How do I reconcile the belief that God seems to work in the lives of some (including myself), but didn’t get involved in the life of anyone who could have averted Nicholas Cruz from his murderous plans?” Or, more personally, “How can I believe God leads me, if there’s no evidence of God leading the dozens of ‘authorities’ in Nicholas Cruz’s life, who failed to see his brokenness and intent to do harm?”
The root of the word “question” is “quest” – “a long or arduous search for something.” Sometimes, we’re content to just lazily pose questions, without bothering to find the answers. Not me. Not this time. My questions have led me on a difficult, arduous quest for answers. I’ve sought wise counsel from friends and mentors. I’ve prayed. I’ve searched Scripture. I’ve wrestled with my own beliefs. I’ve read. I’ve written, you may have noticed, as a way of processing what I’m thinking and feeling.
Today, I stumbled across the best answer I’ve found thus far, in Richard Rohr’s, Job and the Mystery of Suffering…“God is very seldom in charge, it seems to me. Only in the lives of saints, only in people who know themselves and love the Lord and one another is God possibly in charge. In the rest of us, God is in charge maybe a few moments a day.”
While I still believe God is ultimately in charge, is it possible God only controls the events of this world to the degree we align our wills to his’? Is it possible, we can only align ourselves, collectively, with God if we are truly seeking to know his’ will, and live accordingly? Is it possibly God only controls the events of this world to the degree we relinquish control to him? Is it possible our individual and collective pride, self-determinism, pettiness, busy-ness, and self-interest make us deaf and blind to much of what God wants us to see, hear, and do?
Could it be the Church’s fault? Is it possible the Church is failing to shape and form disciples who actively and intentionally “seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), through listening prayer, through self-surrender, and through sacrificial love and service?
Is it possible God was screaming in the ears of countless guardians, teachers, peers, mentors, investigators, neighbors, and law enforcement that Nickolas Cruz was a lethal bomb about to explode, but no one was listening? Is it possible God is warning us about the next Nickolas Cruz, but no one is listening now, either?
Why did God allow this to happen? Why did we allow this to happen!?!
“God is seldom in charge…” How much more would God be in charge, if we actually wanted him to be?