If God is in complete control, it means we as individuals are not. And it means many of our worries and fears are vain indulgences in the illusion that we must somehow wrest control away from God. After all, in our fearful mindset, we can’t trust God to handle things, so we must be the ones to make sure that everything plays out according to ourplans and designs, right?
Wrong. Our individual plans and designs are insufficient to fully accord with the glory of God’s heavenly scheme. So trying to force our own agenda really is an exercise in pointlessness and futility. Sure, we can work, even exert ourselves with extreme effort and striving, to try to make things happen and turn out the way we want, and the way we might think God wants them to, but ultimately we have to accept that we cannot control everything, and that there is a bigger picture than we can see.
Every time we resort to negativity as our main mode of dealing with life’s vagaries and circumstances, we are proclaiming that we know better than God, and that if only so-and-so would have acted differently, if only such-and-such would be the way we say it should, then everyone would be much happier, life would be better, and so on. But there are as many different individual agendas as there are individuals, and so trying to force one’s idea of how things should be upon others only results in more chaos and resentment and conflict.
Sure, there is a time to clash, and to clash most vociferously and even violently, when we’re really left without other options, as far as we can tell. We have to follow our consciences when they urge us toward confrontation and defiance of what we see as unacceptable. The real issue, though, is just what our agency as humans amounts to, when it comes to what is acceptable and what is not. Is it really God’s will that we apathetically accept, as if it’s just part and parcel of his glorious reign, widespread conditions of abject corruption and societal decay?
Surely it is not God’s will that rampant evil among us, which is the result of the abuse of free will by humans, simply be accepted and allowed to continue. Those of us who think we are doing God’s will to try to stop or mitigate it must be able to cope with the knowledge that we may be mistaken, and even mistaken very often.
We must accept that our efforts will frequently arouse hatred and recriminations toward us by those who don’t like what we are doing. But we musn’t let nagging doubts about the righteousness of our struggles discourage us from the struggle. We can alter our course if necessary, or even desist, and acquiesce in calm resignation, depending on what the situation really calls for.
The solution is in the letting go of the outcome, and placing it in the hands of God. If we as individuals are His agents on Earth, then He is the principal, and ultimately in charge.
There is a paradoxical peace to be found in fighting the good fight, and in helping our enemies toward recognition of their errors. Sometimes helping our enemies involves not fighting them, but winning and disarming them with pre-emptive kindness. Forbearance and understanding can be triumphant strategies. Sun-Tzu said, in The Art of War, that if you have to resort to actual fighting, you have already lost. There is also, of course, a tremendous peace in recognizing our own errors, and in making amends for them.
It can be a very difficult thing to remember, sometimes, that what we fear can be an illusion, a trick of the Devil meant to seduce us into forgetting that God is in charge, and into thinking that if we just push all the right buttons and set things up just so, we can control how things are to be. It’s very tempting to imagine that we can force our will and our agenda into fruition. But if we look around, we can see that doing so, that is, trying to do so, only results in less and less satisfaction than does cultivating an attitude of grace and acceptance of what God’s will turns out to be–whether it accords with our strivings, or not.
If God is really in control, He will provide us our deliverance, as long as we recognize our dependence on Him, and cooperate with his plan. It’s merely a matter of trusting Him, and not being tempted, by fear, into thinking we must control everything.