Is God truly in control? In the middle of the storm is He in control? If I truly believe that He is in absolute control and is engineering the things that are happening in my life, then why should I ever be anxious? I know that He is Lord of all things so my faith should rest in Him to take the reigns. I know that I’m not alone in asking this question. The author Charles Stanley does a wonderful job of helping us to never forget that our God is most definitely in control. When you ask; is God in everything? The answer reflects the confidence that I have in Him. Paul teaches “In everything give thanks,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 When life pushes you down, or loved ones pass away, or the chains of shame keep you anchored to some deep dark abyss, it’s not easy to give thanks. When the suffering begins we can place blame and seek vengeance. Or, we can say; God, you are working everything together for my good. I may not like or understand it, but what are you teaching me in this circumstance? We don’t have all the answers, no matter how much we want to. Remember that God created all things so certainly He is in control of it. Just because we don’t understand all the ways God does things, doesn’t mean that He’s lost control. We may say ‘it’s his doing or it’s her doing,’ but because we are children of God, His hand ultimately holds every trail we go through. What can we do about an earthquake? A volcanic eruption? A hurricane? A tornado? Nothing. God is in everything. I have always battled with this reality. Why would God allow people to die and suffer tragedies? Why did He take my mom away from me when I was only twenty years old? I’m nearly fourth now, so I’ve lived almost the same amount of time without her as I had with her. Would I be the same man I am now if I hadn’t lost her so young? I must have faith that God is in control of everything. I know that He has a way of building character, and through our trails we discover things about ourselves. We find our real values, our real priorities. Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar passages in all the Scriptures. It begins with: “The Lord is my Shepard.” Until you call Him Lord, you can’t say “I shall not want.” There will be valleys, difficulty, hardships, trials, suffering, and pain. All throughout scripture God assures us that we are not alone. “I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” When sheep stray away from the Shepard, they usually end up in dangerous places. So when the pain hits and the hopelessness is overwhelming, what do you believe? We discover what character is really all about when we go through the ‘valley’. We discover things about ourselves, we discover what our real value system in life is all about. The Bible constantly tells us that God says for us to not fear, to not be anxious. “The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing.” Philippians 4:6 How do we find unshakable peace? Jesus gave His promise to his disciples when they grew anxious and afraid about Him leaving. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27. The author gives multiple examples of peace in scripture and gives three steps to experience an unshakable peace. First, we must recognize our utter dependence upon God. Next, we must cast our burdens upon the Lord in prayer. Last, we must place our faith in God. One of my favorite scriptures gives us the assurance that God has us in His hands. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. The author talks about being used by God, which I have asked of Him myself. If you want to be used by God, then get ready to suffer. If you want to be someone who can actually encourage others, then you must have walked through the valley of discouragement, hurt, suffering, and loss. Trails qualify us to be used by God. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10.
So in close the author goes on to give prayers for the readers. God has a perfect design for all of our lives. We will go through valleys and mountains, but we must remember that through it all, God is in control. So when we go through pain, suffering, or difficulty; we know what we need to do. Pray to God and say, “God I don’t understand it all, but I’m going to accept by faith that you’re in control. I’m going to watch you straighten out my life.”
1) Why I chose to read this book?
This book was given to me by a Christian brother that goes along with the other book report that I did by the same author. I am determined to submit my life to Christ so that I can become the man He has envisioned me to be. This book was put before me by God so that I would focus on Him and be patient as He works through my life.
2) What did I learn from reading this book?
To give my full trust to God is not an easy task. I have proven over and over that It isn’t easy. Although I struggle with wanting to give up the reigns of my life I am growing to understand the immense benefits and blessings that will come to me and my family. He is has never abandoned me no not once. No matter how painful, stressful, or depressing circumstances may be in my life I know that God is in control. I am refined into the man I’m meant to be.
3) How will this book help contribute to my success upon my release from prison?
As I have said before, I know the importance of preparing for my success upon my release. It’s not only my life that depends on me. I have an amazing wife who has shown me what true love is and all my strength comes from her. In order for me to accept that God has control of my life I know that I must focus on what truly matters in this life. Faith and family. With every piece of my heart I promise to dedicate all my energy towards securing the life that my wife deserves. God is in control of my life and I know that have strayed for far to long. All I can ask is for a chance to prove that I am not beyond redemption.
Thank you and God bless.