Friday, March 5, 2010

Who is in Control of my Life?---Ontological Question #3


"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. . .
your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:28a, 33b

The third ontological question is "Who is in control of life?" Most of us at one time or another have wondered about this mystery. Is there a Master Creator who set in motion and continues to sustain the cosmos, or is life simply a random event? If there is a God, does He think about us and care about the mundane details of our lives, or are we completely on our own? This ontological question is rooted in how we explain and make sense of life's purposefulness.

I have met some individuals who say that they haven't given this question much thought, as if the question doesn't impact their daily lives. I don't believe this is true. The way we answer this question affects how we make sense of life's tragedies and victories. A belief that life occurred as part of a random evolutionary process causes us to see things as accidental and without purpose, whereas a belief rooted in God or a Higher Power causes us to see life as intentional and with design.

Many of us do believe in God. We may have had a personal experience with this Spiritual Being. We may also see an artistry in nature around us and accredit this beauty as evidence of a Higher Power. It is important we integrate our faith into our daily life. Failure to do so can get us into trouble. We might have a strong certainty of an involved God, yet find ourselves often feeling anxious and out of control. In such cases, we haven't connected our faith life with our daily life. If we believe there is a personal God who is in control, then we should be living as if He is participating in every facet of our lives.

Integration problems cause us to go into over-drive. We try to manage daily details that we really have no control over. For instance, parents might go to great efforts to supervise their children every second of every day out of fear that once their children are out of sight they might come to harm. This is an impossible task. None of us can be with another person constantly, nor can we control all aspects of another's life to protect this individual's security. The concern and love are completely understandable, but such control is not achievable. These are the places where our answer to this ontological question becomes visible. Do we really believe there is an involved God who is in control of our lives, or is all of life accidental and every man is watching out for himself?

Obviously, by my inclusion of a biblical context, I believe in a higher power, God. I also believe that He is a part of every aspect of my life and is intentionally directing all of life. Jesus also believed this. He said in John 5:17 that God is always at his work. I am a part of this work. Jesus also said that I bring his kingdom into the world around me by my obedience to his will (Luke 17:20-21). This is encouraging. I feel a part of something bigger than myself and know that my actions have potentially lasting consequences.

Answering this question is an important part of psychological health and has far-reaching ramifications. How do you answer the question, Who is in control of your life?

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