In some of the bleakest moments, Scripture reminds us that there is a God who remains in control. Our studies in John’s Gospel showed this on the night when Judas betrayed Jesus. The soldiers fell in fear when the Son of God addressed them, they obeyed when He commanded them to let His disciples go, and they apprehended Him only when He allowed it. John wanted us to see that it wasn’t Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, the soldiers, or even Satan who controlled the night. It was Jesus.
Reflecting on this study, I was reminded that things are not always as they seem in life. Consider David as he fled from Saul, Elijah as he challenged Ahab’s prophets, Hezekiah when confronted by the king of Assyria, or Jonah when preaching repentance to Ninevah. It didn’t seem that any of these men would survive, and yet, each did because God saw fit to save them.
The Lord involves Himself in our world, but since we don’t know His sovereign will, we really don’t know what will come to pass. Elijah was faithful, and God saved him; Stephen was faithful, and God did not (cf. Acts 7). All we know is that in all things whatever the outcome, God remains in control and has a good purpose (cf. Psa 31:19).
I think of Daniel’s friends who refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image. It seemed their lives were in the hands of a wicked king, but they didn’t quite see it that way…
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace… But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up”—Daniel 3:16b-18.
The three men knew that Nebuchadnezzar didn’t have the final say, for what would come to pass was in the hands of God. Live or die, they just wanted to be faithful whatever outcome He had determined.
We live in a nation similar to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah—proclaiming our immorality, we’re filled with greed, corruption, godlessness, and arrogance (cf. Isa 3:9; Ezek 16:47-50). It could be worse, but it sure seems we’re past the point of no return. It seems the battle is lost, and that our nation will never turn in repentance to God.
We can speculate on what may come to pass, but our nation’s future is in divine hands. Anything can happen. So, whether it seems like we’re winning or losing ground, it shouldn’t matter. Our desire is that as Christians, whatever the outcome, we just want to be faithful to the God who remains in control.