I’m not sure I believe that “God is in control.” When someone spends an entire childhood being abused, is God in control there? When a car accident kills someone long before their prime, was God in control there? When the world is engulfed in endless bloody war, when sin abounds everywhere, do we really get to say God is in control?

I believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign. Which means nothing humanity does catches him by surprise. This is why even though Joseph’s brothers left him for dead, God was able to get him into Egypt where he would become a high ranking member of government and eventually grow the Hebrew population in that nation. But when those brothers were dragging Joseph to that well, was God in control of that situation? Maybe, but I have my doubts.

I find it hard to believe that a God who is in utter control would let people grow up in abuse or starvation, or allow entire nations to be leveled by war. This is simply not in line with God’s divine benevolence. If we’re going to say God allows that kind of thing, we also have to say he is not in a capacity to do anything about it, otherwise he would.

Free will is the thing that stops God from being in complete control. In general God does not intervene in our free will. That act of allowing humans to act as they wish is God’s way of relinquishing control. This is why abuse, war, poverty, those kinds of things persist. Is God technically able to make it all go away in an instant? Yes, but in doing so he would override the freely chosen decisions of mankind, violating the original intent behind why mankind was created.

So while God probably has thought ahead on how to help that abused child recover in adulthood (sometimes), the fact is for those 18 years something was happening to that child which was outside of God’s will, that God certainly did not want to happen, but was bound by free will from stopping.

This is why it’s so important to live according to God’s rules. Because when you don’t – aka when you sin – you end up in situations that you were never meant to be in. You end up doing things to others that you never were supposed to do, and can possibly do major damage to them. Can sin still do negative things to you, even when you’re walking in God’s will? Yes, but you’re not in control of that. All you can control is your own behavior.