Any honest person will admit that sometimes it seems like God is not aware of what is happening in the world. Why does He seem to be standing with His arms folded when He should be intervening?
Regardless of the situation, God is in control. More than 100 verses of the Bible explicitly state God is in complete control. Rahab, a person in the Bible who was as human as you and I are testified, “...The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath (Joshua 2:11).
The Bible even goes so far as to say that God has no territorial limitations. Psalm 113:4–6 tells us, “The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?” Nowhere can a person go to escape His presence and control: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7–8).
So if He’s present, why doesn’t He intervene sometimes?
First, just because God has not yet made His presence and control obvious in a particular situation does not mean that He won’t. Philippians 2:9-11 explains, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Nothing seen at the moment does not mean we won’t ever see God’s hand moving.
Secondly, even if God appears to be absent, He is fully aware of every detail in our lives. Go back to Psalm 139: “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (1-6). In fact, a book in the Old Testament, called Jonah, tells about a prophet who tried to escape His presence and control and found it impossible. Even when Jonah ended up in the belly of great fish, he found God was even there and in control.
Third, sometimes when it appears God is absent, He may be letting people go their own way. His purpose is that they might see the depravity of their condition. Romans 1:24–26 records of when God “gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions.” If sinners will turn to him, acknowledging their sinful condition and their need for a Savior, He is quick to forgive and to save. Sometimes, though, as Romans warns, God has to let us go our own way so we come to the point of seeing our need of Christ.
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how it may appear, God is in control. Regardless of where and when, He’s present. He sees what’s happening, and He is never caught by surprise. He is always in control.