Years ago I was wrapping up final edits for my book, Prone To Love. I had sent the manuscript to several close friends, pastors, authors and leaders I love and highly esteem. I requested both editorial thoughts and endorsements. I have grown to highly value the editing process. It gives me a chance to experience what I’ve written through another’s lens and in so doing discover new ways to communicate more clearly. It gives me insight on what is funny and what is just trite, what is repetitive and what needs repeating, and where I might have raised a question that distracts instead of empowers. I especially enjoy the last stages of editing; where friends and hero’s weigh in on content. Their opinions are often encouraging and profound.
When it came to a particular chapter in Prone To Love, one of my pastor friends raised an alarm regarding my thoughts about the sovereignty of God. I had written an entire chapter under the title, “God Is Not In Control” and that thought bothered him. He felt it was an incredibly flawed idea. He was also concerned it would cause distress and confusion in my reader. He suggested that promoting the idea that God is not in control would be the equivalent of “pulling the string that unravels the universe.” While he felt he understood what I was saying he couldn't travel that road with me at the time. He kindly let me know that if I didn’t make some edits he would not only be unable to endorse the book, he may have to distance himself from it.
His feedback was invaluable! I am so grateful for his honesty!
I had one aspiration when writing Prone To Love - that the reader would discover how wide, and long, and high, and deep is His love for us. I didn't want the reader to get lost in an often heated and tired debate on God's sovereignty. I didn’t want to lose the plot through the unnecessary possibility of offending.
I made a simple edit. Everywhere I had written, “God is not in control” I changed to, “God does not want to control you.” By slightly changing the language I hoped to graciously challenge the dysfunctional idea of a controlling God without taking the reader down a rabbit trail I wasn't keen on travelling at the time.
But I’d like to travel that trail now. In this series of non-religious essays I will attempt to unravel the universe, the one that would go to pieces with the string-pulling suggestion that the sovereignty of God has nothing to do with control and everything to do with Love.
This series of essays is not my ode to systematic thoughts on a word batted around by intellectuals for centuries. I promise you, I’m not learned enough for that debate. Nor am I interested in debate. By no means is this an exhaustive series, nor could it be. God can’t be contained by a word, even a word as beautiful, mysterious and awesome as sovereignty. This is simply my yes to His invitation to discover a sovereignty that has all authority, is the most powerful force in existence, and never controls.
God is not in control, God is love. And the two are as adverse as darkness to light.
I would like to suggest that any universe held together by a controlling God needs some serious unraveling.
So I’m pulling the string…
In the coming weeks I will release several articles on the sovereignty of love. While I write with confidence, I also hope to write humbly and with grace. I know there are a thousand questions raised by the suggestion that God is neither in control or controlling. This series isn’t meant to answer them all; it’s simply one more perspective on the perfect love of an always good Father. May we continue to grow sure.
Jason Clark is an author, singer/songwriter, speaker and director of A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Jason’s new book Prone To Love is available now.