For me, a foundational reason and purpose of Christianity is this: the unlocking of the creative imagination for the banishment of darkness, fear, hatred, discord and anxiety. For anyone who cares to read on, you’ll experience two things: hearing my own understanding, and a virtual experience of this “unlocking” effect.
I believe the following, and confidently share this statement with you: God is in control of everything. That comforts me. Now, I think many of my readers would have nodded in agreement or at least hopefulness. But I’m also confident that many would have a fairly limited definition of “everything”; for example, it doesn’t include “evil”, “bad things”, or my free-will right now. So, let’s allow “everything” to expand in our minds for a moment: imagine EVERYTHING for a minute, just imagine it (you don’t have to like or believe it!): God is in control of EVERYTHING. For me, it brings amazing comfort to know that God is in control of absolutely everything, overseeing the entire universe operating like a finely tuned piece of machinery which can never break down. And it’s working towards a good and beautiful purpose, without any chance of any other forces disrupting it.
I have thought about this a lot, via Bible study, meditation, debate and journaling. So I am aware of objections, such as this logical (hypothetical) statement: “You say, David, that God is in control of everything and He has good plans for me. But you said that to my friend last week and then he died in a plane crash! How ridiculous!” My answer is this: I know just how irrational it sounds, but I can still hold strong to my belief that God is in control of everything because if He, the good and perfect craftsman, isn’t in control, then it only leaves me with despair (or at least emptiness) as to what is happening right now in the universe and in my future, including the afterlife. You are welcome to reject the view that God is in control and that he is working all things for a good future for you, but I think that leaves you with less satisfying paradigms (at least as I see them): that the future is unknown; that some evil force might win in your or others’ lives; that luck reigns; that the afterlife is full of many equal gods; that we ourselves completely control our destinies. There are many options out there, and I’m happy for you if they guide your life in a meaningful way. But for me, I am comforted by this: that God IS in control, and He has never had his original creation fail in any way, nor has anything ever happened which He hasn’t accounted for. That brings me comfort.
I’m also aware that some folk will object and say that this isn’t what traditional Christianity teaches. Moreover some will question whether such a philosophy allows me to qualify for the title of Christian at all. My response is this: I came to this understanding via Christ and the Bible. Furthermore, it is only via Christ that I’ve been able to imagine a God both big and good enough to be able to pull off a flawless universe. On the scriptural front – and I won’t preach here in any detail, but I’m happy to elsewhere – the Bible to me makes it abundantly clear that the resurrection of Christ gives hope to both the living and the dead. Comfort. To me that’s real comfort.
To summarise on a personal note, I’m grounded enough to admit that I am an idealist to the core, and that this article represents idealism on steroids. Yet I believe these are imaginings – visions of reality – that have come through prayer, meditation and dialogue with God regarding His scriptures. Spirit-inspired, creative imagination for me has meant breaking down surface-level understandings of biblical and religious concepts, and then allowing new and deeper understandings to fill my heart and mind. I’m here to report that God speaks as you seek Him, with the result of windows of creative impulse being opened. And as these windows let their light in, scary darkness leaves.
Blessings on your journey!
–David Sretenovic, January 2016