Do you ever feel like your life is out of control?
You can sense it in society—angst, anxiety, anger. We're flooded with bad news. We turn on the television, and we're inundated with images of the most recent country to be hit by a tsunami or more violence in the Middle East. Our friends tell us of the stories they read about how the United Nations is going to take over the world. Radio talk show hosts rant about hordes of illegal immigrants and the collapse of health care.
Where is God in all this mess?
A world spiraling out of control
Why does it feel like our world is out of control? Is God like an absentee landlord who lets his property deteriorate? Has He waited too long to intervene in world affairs?
Have you ever wondered why the loving, all-powerful God seems to be powerless in a world of suffering, violence, natural disasters and anxiety?
You want God to stop the madness, but it seems like things are getting worse all the time. On the world scene, the old political and economic institutions have become destabilized. They've lost all credibility. Institutions like the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union seem to have lost their ability to create peace and calm.
The religious institutions of mainstream Christianity used to supply a moral compass for Western society. But today, all too often Christian churches reflect the shifting sands of pop culture. Not only is behavior that was condemned in most pulpits a couple of decades ago accepted now, but disapproval of such behavior is considered hate speech.
And there is more and more to be concerned over. We worry about the economy and our jobs. We worry about the effects of changing morality. We worry about the weather. We worry about government drones being programmed to spy on our everyday activities.
So we ask again: Where is God? Has He really lost control? If He hasn't, why is the world such a mess?
God still has control
The Bible has the answers that can give you hope and faith. God is allowing this confusion to continue for only a limited amount of time, until He dramatically intervenes in human history and takes control. This is one of the great themes of biblical prophecy.
We're going to look at a crucial early prophecy. When you understand this verse you will know that God is still in control of history and the future.
History and the future seem like big ideas. How do they apply to the problems of your everyday life?
Maybe you're trying to hold down a part-time job and take care of two children. You're trying to make ends meet, worried about doctors' bills.
When you understand why the world is out of control, and how God is going to bring security and real freedom to humanity, you can begin to allow God to bring stability and security into your life right now.
God didn't lose control—humanity did
Let's go back to the beginning—the very beginning of the human race.
Mankind's parents, Adam and Eve, lived in the perfect environment. There was no conflict between them or between them and God.
God told our first parents that they could eat of all the produce of the Garden of Eden except the fruit of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 3:2-3). As long as they allowed the Creator of life to lead them, they lived without confusion or conflict. There was no depression, no emotional pain. Adam and Eve were secure, happy and truly free.
But they decided that they could determine for themselves good and evil. This is what is meant by their taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan the devil—called here the "serpent"—introduced the idea that God was wrong to withhold this from them.
When talking about how life seems out of control you can't take Satan out of the equation. The apostle Paul called Satan "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Humanity has essentially been kidnapped and deceived into adopting an out-of-control lifestyle.
Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, every human endeavor has been a mixture of good and evil. Every human government, economic system, educational system, and humanity's concepts of morality and religion have been influenced by "the god of this age."
Eventually, everything we've built is going to spiral out of control.
But the story ends in good news.
In the Genesis account of Adam and Eve we find a vital prophecy that foretells how, in the midst of all this chaos, God is going to take control of human history.
Gaining control of your life
Every human being has effectively eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our lives are out of control because, at the core of our spiritual being, every one of us is spiritually out of control. Nothing will be solved in your life until you understand that truth.
The problem may sound insurmountable, but it's not. There is a way you can allow God to take control of your life.
God has supplied a way out of this mess. It begins with your willingness to accept that you are part of the mess and are fatally flawed because you have been eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You must be willing to embrace that longing you have for a meaningful spiritual relationship with your Creator.
God has a plan for bringing the chaos of human history under His control.
Jesus Christ is returning to take control of the world
The special prophecy of Genesis 3:15 foretold that a child born of woman would have his heel struck by the serpent but would crush the serpent's head. This is the earliest prophecy in Scripture of the Messiah—first being killed (His stricken heel) but then ultimately defeating Satan.
The prophecy will find ultimate fulfillment after Jesus Christ returns to the earth. The story of the prophecy starts at the beginning of the book—at the beginning of the Bible—and it spans the length of Scripture. So let's go to the end of the book to see how the story ends.
The book of Revelation contains divinely inspired visions given to the apostle John about an unprecedented time in human history. It tells of a time when all humanity will be spiraling out of control. This will be a time of greatly escalating wars, disease epidemics, earthquakes, and devastating natural disasters. Satan will then unleash his hatred on mankind. We will be on the verge of human extinction.
It's at this time of chaos, when the world has completely spiraled out of control, that Jesus Christ will step back into the story and restore sanity to mankind.
The apostle John was inspired to write: "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:11-13). "The Word" is another name for Jesus Christ (John 1:1, John 1:14).
John continued: "And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (John 1:14-15).
The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 hasn't been completely fulfilled yet. God is in control. He is sending His Son a second time to remove Satan and set up God's Kingdom on the earth. Jesus, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will create a new society based on God's ways.
Would you like to be part of what God is doing?
Then you must be willing to give control of your life to God. Let's look at two things you can do to begin to allow God to take control of your life.
Turning your life over to God right now
First, accept that the more you try to control your life, the more out of control it will become. The real problems are spiritual. Real solutions involve turning to God and, as Jesus said, putting first things first: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things [daily life needs] shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
This involves heartfelt prayer in which you ask God to forgive you for eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It involves a complete willingness to seek God's desire for you and submit to His will because you want to be spiritually healed.
A second step in letting God have control of your life is that you need to trust in His goodness. This may be one of the most difficult steps for any human being.
Adam and Eve didn't trust in God's goodness. They thought that He was somehow holding something back, something exciting and pleasurable for them. They didn't believe that God had their best interest at heart.
Do you really believe that God wants what is good for your life? Do you trust Him enough to follow His ways even if you don't know the outcome or if it becomes uncomfortable? Do you trust God even if it means losing a job or having friends think you are silly for being religious?
There's a tale about a man walking in the woods who falls over a cliff. Part way down he manages to catch himself on a tree branch. He looks over the situation and realizes that he has sprained an ankle and broken several ribs. He can't climb up. He can't climb down.
Suffering from shock and pain the man cries out: "Is anybody up there? Can you hear me? Can you help me?"
After hours of crying out for help, the man finally sobs, "God, will you help me?"
Suddenly, the man hears a voice from above, beyond the edge of the cliff. "I am here."
"Who are you?" the man asks.
"I am God. Don't you believe in me?"
"Oh, yes I do!" the man yells with relief. "Please, God, save me."
"Good," God says, "Then let go and I'll catch you."
There is a long silence and then the man cries out, "Is there anybody else up there?"
Are you like this man? Or are you willing to give up control of your life and trust God and His ways, even if it means letting go? Are you willing to obey His law, His instructions, or are you a Christian only when it's convenient or easy?
God is fulfilling Genesis 3:15 through the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus came the first time to defeat Satan, sin and death. He is returning soon a second time to remove the god of this age from power and set up God's Kingdom on earth.
There was another tree in the Garden of Eden with fruit that our first parents did not eat. It was called the tree of life. This tree represents the eternal life God will give to those who give up control of their lives and return to Him through the work of Jesus Christ.
In the closing chapter of the Bible, John was inspired to write, "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life" (Revelation 22:14).
God is in control! Soon He will send Jesus Christ back to earth to stop the chaos, the wars, even the destructive forces of nature. It's time for you to give up the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eat of the tree of life!