Are you struggling with the turmoil around you? Or perhaps, arguably worse is there turmoil within? Whatever the struggle, be encouraged. When the world looks out of control, God is in control.
For me this old hymn from Horatio Spafford is comforting in times of trial. When the author wrote it, he was on a ship to meet up with his wife. He was traveling over the same part of the ocean where the rest of his family had just drowned and his wife alone had barely escaped.
I imagine he had quite the swell of feelings and he traveled over that part of the ocean – fear, doubt, and grief. His sorrows and losses ran deep, but also inspired these words that have endured for centuries.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well (it is well)Horatio G. Spafford
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.
Bible Study Reminds Us God is in Control
Let’s be clear, just because God is ultimately in control doesn’t mean He always controls every little detail. God allows things that grieve Him and us. His purposes are beyond our understanding, but nothing painful He allows is beyond His control. And nothing is beyond His ability to heal and redeem.
The peace of Christ doesn’t come from peaceful times and lack of trials. The peace of Christ transcends understanding. It is a beacon of light that is seen most brightly in the darkness and storm.
To remember God is in control during times of trial starts with learning that God is in control. Having understood that God is in control, it is the times of trial that may test your faith that He is in control. Having a firm foundation in the Bible and enduring trials leads to a deeper conviction and faith of the sovereignty of God. As you endure, returning to scripture will strengthen you for the journey."The peace of Christ doesn't come from peaceful times and lack of trials. The peace of Christ transcends understanding. It is a beacon of light that is seen most brightly in the darkness and storm." #peace #faith… Click To Tweet
I’ve been doing the Revelation Bible study by NT Wright. Something surprising has come from this round of studying Revelation, comfort.
Revelation is the story about the end, but also about what’s “behind the veil” of the world we see. There are great and terrifying battles and imagery. But never do we get the sense that God is not perfectly in control. And maybe just as important is to remember that God cares.
We are encouraged to continue in prayer, perseverance, and patience through trials. Knowing that God is in control and cares about us makes this possible.
“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus” (Revelation 14:12, WEB).
“Peace Be Still” Jesus Says
The story above about Horatio Spafford reminds me of a story in the gospels. Jesus was out on a boat with his disciples and had fallen asleep when a storm came. Mark 8:37-40 tells it as follows.
A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him,
“Teacher, don’t you care that we are dying?” He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?”
“Though Satan should buffet” and it may feel like God has left us to be tossed about, He is still in control. Jesus is so relaxed, so firm in his peace, that he actually sleeps through the storm. His words sound like they were meant for more than the waters to hear. His disciples too needed to hear “Peace, be still.”
Bible Verses Reminding Us God is in Control
In moments of struggle, it’s helpful to have Bible verses at hand to remind you of truths you may have forgotten. You may find the following Bible verses helpful to post on walls or memorize. Remember you are seen and known. Your trials are not overlooked.
“Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Isaiah 41:10).
“Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same” (James 1:17).
“The earth and everything on it belong to the Lord. The world and all its people belong to him” (Psalm 24:1).
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for an assarion coin? Not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
Parenting with God in Control
Part of the job of a parent is to be a provider, to make sure our children have food, clothing, a home, health care, and more (I Timothy 5:8).
During times of trouble we are also to provide our children with emotional and spiritual provisions. We are to stock them up on eternal hope and peace. We need to teach them not to rely on us, but on God.
Jesus told us, “Don’t worry about the things you need to live—what you will eat or what you will wear. Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it. Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in houses or barns, but God feeds them. And you are worth much more than birds…
Your Father knows that you need these things. Seek God’s kingdom. He will give you all these other things you need” (Luke 12: 22-24, 30-31).
This doesn’t mean we will not have times of feeling needy and restless. We live in a broken world where evil is still at work. Let us lead our children in prayer and teach them our Father in Heaven is near. Let us be like Jesus in the boat – rocked on the waters but not shaken.
Finding this helpful? Pin it!
God Hears Our Prayers
Despite all these assurances, anxiety will come. Scripture reminds us of what to do when we are anxious – pray!
“In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer is our means of participating in the eternal. Not only does God hear our prayers, but He welcomes them as a pleasant fragrance.
As Revelation 8:4 describes, “The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand.”
God knows our needs and our struggles. He is able and willing to give to us not just what we need, but more than we can imagine.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will overflow in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
We have hope because we know, God is in control, He cares and, He delights in bringing beauty from ashes.
Remember God is in Control
When you want to worry, choose to seek God first and pray. This doesn’t guarantee life will turn out just the way you like. If your vision of life fails, Romans 8:28 tells us God will still work things out for His glory and His purposes.
He did it with Abraham, Moses, Jonah, and countless others whose stories we don’t even know. He can take our canvases, though spilled up and spattered – and turn them into masterpieces.
It can also be helpful to take inventory of times when God “came through” in the past. Most recently I was very worried about starting our ministry to aging out foster youth. But God has stepped in – in so many ways we couldn’t have anticipated. He has orchestrated goodness from uncertainty.
As Joseph Bayly famously put it, “Don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light.”
Remember, God is in control.
Find this Helpful? You may also enjoy:
How to Bring Peace Into Your Home