A cliché often heard by Christians who are in the midst of tragedy is God is in control. This platitude sounds spiritual because, of course, it is true, but what Christian doesn’t believe God is in control?
As I have been friends with Christian women over the years, listened to them, wept with them and taught them—and from what I know about myself—I have learned that’s not what women need to hear. What they need to hear is, The God *who loves you* is in control.
Why is the first phrase so commonplace? I think because it sounds good, and it’s easier to say because it doesn’t require the speaker to grapple with trusting God in the pain of affliction. It doesn’t require the same faith that the second requires. To tell someone the God who loves you is in control in a meaningful way means you, yourself, understand the fight to trust God and because you understand it, you want to express empathy and support.
Those who think adversity can be answered with banality have either never been in the deep valley of suffering or if they have, they have denied and compartmentalized their pain in an avoidance of their own questions and uncertainties. Clichés can be a lid on the jack-the-box of life and to go beyond them is to risk having someone else’s pain turn the handle of your memories and pull back the snap on the top that releases your doubts.
To encourage Christians in the midst of difficult circumstances to trust God, you have to be willing to face your own fears and risk suffering with them as you love and befriend those who hurt. You have to be willing to be authentic and humble as you share your own experience of affliction in your own times of no answers. You have to know God—the God who loves you, and who is in control.
“…For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter