Is God in Control?

By Taylor B

As I prepared for college last year, I was torn between two universities. I had been planning on attending one of them most of my life, yet the more I looked into the two schools and thought about my applications the more I felt my view gradually shifting towards the other. I felt that maybe God was trying to tell me that I should rethink my plans. Well, I didn’t really want to listen to the thoughts and ideas God was giving me. I stubbornly continued with my application and tried brushing off the uneasy feelings I kept getting. Eventually I came to know I needed to pray about a decision as important as this one.

I thought carefully about how I would bring this idea up with my Heavenly Father. I wanted to do what He felt was best, but I also really wanted to go to the university I’d always planned on. I was being stubborn, but didn’t want to displease God by refusing His answer; so I prayed. I told God exactly what I wanted, but then said, “Lord, I want your opinion on this. I really will go where you want me to go.” Then I sat quietly and waited to see how I felt or to see how he would answer me. The answer that came to my heart was this, “You may choose for yourself. I’ll support you wherever you go.” I took this to be a very kind answer from him, because I didn’t really feel my first choice was right. However, since I wanted to go there, I continued preparing my application, hoping that I was doing the right thing. The more I did, the less it felt right.

Time went by. Eventually I toured the other school’s campus. It felt very different. I knew it was time to stop pretending and that I should go there. As soon as I formulated that thought in my head, I was overcome with peace and comfort. I knew I had made the right choice.

I’ve often wondered what God’s role is in my personal life. Does he have a say in whom I meet from day to day? Where I go? What I say? I often wonder how much of what I do is from my own choice or from His will. Do I determine my destiny or is it all scripted out?

I have come to believe that God does not control our lives; we do. He has given us the freedom to make our own decisions. Rarely will God intervene in these decisions although He knows exactly what would happen in each possible outcome. He is “perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16) .Thus, He knows what choices we will make from day to day! He knows with whom we will interact! He knows what we will say. God knows us so well that He can gauge exactly how each one of us will react to each situation. When we choose to turn to Him, He can guide us with His input. There is a hymn that helps explain this point:

“Know this, that every soul is free, to choose His ways and what he’ll be. For this eternal truth is given, that God can force no man to heaven.
He’ll call persuade, direct, aright and bless with wisdom love and light. In nameless ways be good and kind, but never force the human mind.”

God taught me an important lesson with how He answered my prayer about college choice. He trusted me to make my own decision. He didn’t tell me a direct yes or no, but let me sort things out myself. He understood the depth and breadth of each choice. He fully comprehended how my life would play out in each direction, and he cared enough to give me pointers (thoughts and feelings) on which choice would merit the greatest result. He loved me enough to let me choose.

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