The Context: There is no specific Bible verse where these exact words are stated, but this is a frequently spoken phrase that describes God as the final authority in the universe. It is used to give believers the assurance that Satan’s attacks and life’s challenges have a limit that is controlled by God (see Job 1 and I Corinthians 10:13), and it speaks of God ultimately fulfilling His purposes on planet earth.
The Positive: I Corinthians 10:13 states that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear – which is a great promise of God’s control in our lives. Romans 8:28 also tells us that even the negative things in life can be turned to a positive (through God’s control) for those who love God and have responded to His call for us. These are two examples of His positive control in our midst.
There will be a crack in our spiritual foundation if we think “God is in control” means that everything that happens is God’s will. God gave control of the earth to man, but Adam gave this authority to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Jesus then came and took the keys of authority from the devil and said to us, “All authority has been given to me; therefore, go . . .” (Matthew 28:18- 19). Matthew 16:15-19 further reveals that the keys of “binding and loosing” have been given to those who walk in the revelation that Jesus is the Christ (the anointed one). We, as the people of God, have been commissioned to control the devil, control the speed of kingdom advancement, and control the level of blessing and protection for our descendants and us.
Concluding Thoughts: There are great assurances of God’s decisive control for us, but His control can be limited by us. When we hear, “How could God allow this to happen,” we should consider the better question: “How could we (mainly the church) allow this to happen?” We must be careful to not allow the phrase “God is in control” to make us passive and fatalistic.