In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will… Ephesians 1:11
Who is really in control?
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the world’s busiest airport measured by aircraft movements (landings and takeoffs of planes). In 2014 movements averaged 2,416 per day. That is 101 per hour and 1.7 per minute. Now add the busy Midway International Airport in the Chicago area and you have air accidents waiting to happen. It’s no wonder that the job of flight controllers – those who manage the airplane traffic – is a stressful job. I can even fathom the chaos and carnage that would result if there were no one to direct that traffic.
Now imagine the world as an airport and every individual – all 7.4 billion of us – as an airplane, coming and going as we please, and God as a single “flight controller” keeping track of our movements for all of human history. And not just our movements but those of the animal kingdom as well – untold billions more landings and takeoffs. Remember God’s Word says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” (Matthew 10:29) What an awesome God we serve.
While the chaos in the world may suggest God has lost control, He hasn’t. God is working “everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”.
I remember being devastated when Cheryl, my one true love, wrote me a “Dear Steve” letter. I was on a cruise while at the US Naval Academy. My spiritual journal the next day recorded my shock and my doubting questions for God. Why, I believed God had orchestrated Cheryl and I meeting and joining together as a couple. I was beginning to think that maybe she was the “one” for me. And then God allowed for her to slip from my grasp. It made no sense at all. UNTIL – less than a year later God brought Lucy Eugenia Hill into my life and heart. And we’re still enjoying God’s wonderful control in our lives. And by the way, God led a fine Christian man into Cheryl’s life. You see, God was seeking to control the lives of four people not just mine. I fully believe that Cheryl flew into my life for a time, directed by our precious “flight controller”. Both she and I were blessed by God through that time. And I praise God that He has led Lucy and I to fly tandem for nearly 44 years.
Most of you are aware that Lucy and I spent 2 ½ years out of the pastoral ministry between our last church and this one. We nearly went bankrupt but God sustained us. Then as soon as we arrived in China Grove, Pillowtex went under and I was sought out by some affected by that closing. My own trying financial experience became a way that I could encourage dozens of people to trust God in there trouble. In 1998, when I left our former church, God was already at work molding me to be the pastor here in Rowan County because he is the “flight controller” of more people than me.
Several different physical ailments keep me in almost constant pain. Prayers have flooded heaven about that and the pain continues. It doesn’t make sense to me. Yet I believe that my “flight controller” knows what He is doing. He is all wise and He is all loving. And He is working my life in coordination with everyone else. It is part of my flight plan. Hey, if I would have had my way and married Cheryl, I would have missed out on God’s best. He truly is better at controlling my life than even I am. So I’ll just trust Him with the many things about the flight plan that I’m having trouble understanding.
If God knows when sparrows fall, He knows every detail of your life too. The psalmist David said, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) You can trust your “flight controller”. As Jerry Bridges says, “Our trust must be in the sovereign will of God as He works in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives for our good and His glory”.
I’m glad my flight plan has intersected with yours – Pastor Steve