It’s common for us to talk about God being in control of all things. Rarely do we speak about God being out of control. In his review of the new book by Timothy J. Stoner, The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditation on Faith, Trevin Wax quotes this excerpt:
“God really believes that he is the most worthy, most majestic, magnificent, glorious, stunningly beautiful being in the universe. And he is fixated on the certainty that only he deserves worship—that to him alone belong honor, glory, and praise forever and forever. With red-rimmed, stinging eyes and burning hair, all we can say is—he is right. He is astonishingly beautiful, utterly majestic and perfect in the symmetries of justice and righteousness, knowledge, and wisdom. He is as hypnotically compelling as a surging forest fire and ten times as dangerous. He is out of control—ours, not his.” (83)
I am convinced, by that paragraph alone, to buy the book.
The God who has revealed himself throughout history, whose words and ways are recorded in the pages of Scripture, is utterly beyond human control. We cannot anticipate his next move, or manipulate his actions, or in any way put him in our debt. He is free, sovereign. He “does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth” (Dan. 4:35, NIV). He consults no one and needs nothing.
In a well-known passage from The Chronicles of Narnia, the Kings and Queens, upon discovering that Aslan had quietly slipped away from their coronation feast, remembered Mr. Beaver’s warning:
“He’ll be coming and going. One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down – and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion.” – from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
Indeed. Not at all like a tame lion.