Posts Tagged ‘our god is in control


Death, sorrow, baby einstein, sundresses and hope

In the midst of reading about an abortion doctor crushing innocent babies because their parents decided that the babies were an inconvenience, and thinking about lots of personal and family related problems that require much attention, prayers and miracles, I was sitting on a public bus going through the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark with tears in my eyes. Tears of pain. Tears of anger. Tears of frustration. But also tears of hope. My iPod was playing a song that seemed so out of touch with what I was thinking about, Steven Curtis Chapman’s Our God Is In Control from his majestic album, Beauty Will Rise. God is in control? Really?

As I sat there and pondered this, a beautiful 5-year old girl smiled at me. I had noticed her running to catch the bus with her dad who looked like he had the day off. They made it, and the little girl in a flowery dress was beaming with pride when she walked through the bus and found two available seats. They sat and talked, and got off at the center of the city, ready to explore. She smiled at me, jumped down from the bus, and walked happily away with her daddy. Just the way life should be.

Early this morning Marcus and I were watching a Baby Einstein DVD about colors while eating breakfast together, and my 15-month-old son got very excited when the color yellow was presented with a picture of a field filled with yellow, perfect daffodils. He was so happy. So out of touch with everything that was going on in his daddy’s head. He came with books and toys for us to play with. Laughing, smiling, ready for a new day.

“This is not how it should be. This is not how it could be. Our God is in control. This is not how it will be. When we finally will see. We’ll see with our own eyes. He was always in control”, the song was playing in my ears. It’s true. This isn’t how it should be. Death, disease, pain, lack of finances to pay for health insurance, fear of losing your job, intense loneliness, fear of going through life all alone and depression. None of this was part of the original package. Sin, destruction and death entered the world. And it’s so easy to be swallowed up by the existential hopelessness that is our lot if we don’t know God. If we don’t know someone who is in control. In control even when it sure doesn’t look like he is.

The little girl is right. Marcus was right. Life is good. Yellow is a wonderful color. A day out with daddy is wonderful. It’s epic. It’s eternal. It’s what will last. Yellow daffodils will last. Death and sorrow will wither and pass away. Wearing a sundress with daddy and laughing at his old jokes won’t.

And life is found in the midst of this tension. The tension between aggressive diseases, unbelievable cruelty, loneliness, shipwrecked marriages and daffodils, teddy bears, sundresses and wonderful, patient dads. Hope and light is breaking through. Jesus is real in the midst of this mess we call life.



“it is what it is”

I have many bad habits. One of them happens to really upset my wife. And with good reason. It’s a sentence I say a bit too often. It’s a sentence of giving up, giving in, and resignation. It’s not a statement of surrender, but of resigning and accepting that things just won’t change no matter what I say/think/do. It’s actually a statement of believing in something along the lines of fate.

Often I say this when things just don’t work out the way I wanted them to. My hopes are crushed, and I say with a sigh of resignation: “it is what it is“. It may sound harmless enough, but too often it’s very ugly and starts me on a downward spiral where I forget that God is in control. Even when things are messy and life doesn’t turn out the way I wanted them, or even according to God’s own best case scenario, he is still in control.

Yesterday, as we were driving home from church, I was lamenting about my own shortcomings and the ugliness of my flesh that comes out when I accuse myself of not doing enough to get to know people at church, not caring enough about them, or whatever aspect of my life it is that my flesh chooses to attack on that particular day. My wife stopped me in my tracks, when I had, once again, concluded that it is what is. She heard the resignation, and the hopelessness in my voice. “Will it ever be any different?”, was one of the questions behind my frustrations.

Jeannette told me how troubled she is when she hears “it is what it is“. And she explained what she hears, when I say those words. An hour later I was in our car on my way to play a football game, and somehow I knew I needed to listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s remarkable CD “Beauty Will Rise“. This CD may be the most personal and intimate CD I’ve ever listened to. It truly is Steven Curtis Chapman’s own journal set to music as he has been walking through the grief process after losing his 5-year old daughter Maria Sue in a tragic car accident two years ago. I have listened to that CD several times, and it always brings tears to my eyes. I haven’t lost a small child, but I know parts of the pain Steven so bravely shares in these songs. Yesterday, God used one of these powerful songs to minister to me.

The song is called Our God Is In Control, and it speaks about the true hope we have as Christians of someday living on a new and re-created earth where all evil is gone and everything is just the way it should be. A couple of lines spoke to me about my situation here and now, and it added some valuable truth to my “it is what it is” statements.

Steven Curtis Chapman writes these precious pieces of truth:

This is not how it should be. This is not how it could. But this is how it. And our God is in control“, and “This is not where we planned to be when we started this journey. But this is where we are. And our God is in control

Tears were streaming down my face as God spoke to me about this truth. It’s true that there things that just have to be done, and there are lots of circumstances that turn out differently than I hope. And sometimes, “it just is what is, BUT (and the truth about what you and I really believe always comes after the “but” in our sentences!) God is in control!”

There is a huge difference between just saying “it is what it is“, and saying “it is what is, and our God is in control

I appreciate this reminder. I appreciated hearing God’s heart for me. He understands that it’s easy for me and his other children to get discouraged. But he also knows that I need to be reminded that HE IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL!

Blessings, Torben – here is a video with the beautiful song Our God Is In Control

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