Faithful Politics

Being faithful with our politics, not political with our faith.

A Fire, Cancer, and Politics: Reminders of Who is in Control

We live in Colorado Springs, and a few weeks ago we were all given a powerful reminder of how fleeting control of our lives can be.  Our entire city watched in horror as the Waldo Canyon Fire jumped a ridge and burned out of control towards the city.  When it was all over 346 houses had been destroyed, and at least two lives were lost.  The scar on the mountain will last for decades potentially, but the scar on our city will tarry even longer.  We all are adept at fooling ourselves into thinking that we are in control of our lives; that we are the masters of our own destiny.  A tragedy like this is a stark reminder that all the technology and manpower that a state can muster can still not keep nature under control.

One of the elders in our church lost his home in the blaze, but, despite the turmoil of the situation, he was able to confidently point to the fact that God is in control.  He credits this resolve to his prolonged battle with cancer.  Cancer, like a fire, can devastate everything in its path.  And like the fire that swept through our community, its devastation can seem random or arbitrary.  In a single neighborhood some families’ houses were completely untouched while others are left with nothing but a pile of ash and rubble where their home once stood.  So too with cancer.  Some people are able to beat the disease, to defy the odds and live long and productive lives.  Others are taken from us too soon, once again reminding us that we are not in control.  Our elder had three years to struggle with the question of why he was affected by cancer.  The peace that God gave him through his wrestling with that issue provided the strength to move on after all his earthly possessions went up in flames.

Rather than turn this into a discussion of theodicy (how a good God can allow suffering) I want to instead focus on the fact that we are not in control of our lives as much as we often think we are.  This is even true with our system of government.  Many Americans felt exasperated at the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.  A different set of Americans was equally frustrated with the Court’s Citizen’s United decision a little further back.  Nothing in our government is as much beyond our control as the Supreme Court.  Or take another example, this November 7th, the day after the presidential election, roughly half the country will be distraught over the outcome of the election.  Political disappointments carry with them the aggravating feeling of being out of control.

As followers of Christ, however, we can all rest in the security of knowing Who is in control.  This simple platitude seems trite to those who just found out their house is gone, that the mass was in fact cancer, that the election didn’t go the way we wanted it to.  But we dare not relegate God’s sovereignty to mere triviality.  The authorship of history is ultimately outside of our control, and for anyone who properly understands their own brokenness, this should be profoundly good news.  When God allows the circumstances of life to remind us that we are not in control we need to respond with worship, recognizing that the God who knows when a single sparrow falls to the ground also holds our circumstances in His mighty grip.  God is indeed the one in control.

Bookmark and Share
Tagged as: , , , ,

Leave a Response