The Illusion of Control
by Hiram Claudio 1/10/2011 / Christian Living
In looking into the scriptures found in Daniel 3, I am reminded of something we all deal with "The Illusion of Control."
A few years ago, when the train I took everyday reached NY's Penn Station, a passenger accidentally bumped into another one as they were exiting the train. No big deal, right? Wrong! It started with "hey watch it" comments, escalated to yelling and screaming and, within moments, the two were throwing punches right in the middle of the aisle.
The whole scene, while upsetting, got me thinking. I have often noticed how willing we are to snap at anyone that gets in our way. It is almost as if we believe the whole world should bow to our desires or at least should not get in our way as we travel a chosen path. After all, "I decide where I am going" and "I determine what is allowed to touch my life" or so the thinking goes. It appeared to me that these two men were less offended by the infraction into each other's personal space as they were upset that someone got in their way to where they wanted to go (work). It amazes me that people really believe they control everything that touches their lives. I guess it shouldn't. The kings Daniel faced had the same problem.
This passage opens with a vision God gives to Daniel. It is loaded with wonderful images and prophetic instruction. And yet, my focus today is on none of that. What impact did this vision have on Daniel? Much of the prophetic value would occur long after he was gone. What were some of the lessons he took from this vision at that time? One was the shattering of this notion of who is in control. We would all do well to remind ourselves, daily, that God alone reigns. "He is still on the throne!"
Daniel sees four beasts in his vision. They are amazing images but a common theme is the subtle references to their lack of autonomy. The first beast has eagle's wings that "are plucked off and it is made to stand." The second is "raised up." The third has dominion "given to it." Later in the chapter, it is revealed that these beasts represent kingdoms and there we have the point.
It will never matter what kingdom rises or how powerful it becomes. God is always in control. Elections do not decide who is in power, God does. Political parties do not decide who rules, God does. Terrorist organizations do not determine how safe I will live, God does! He is still in control. Christ still reigns in our day. Later in the passage, the "Ancient of Days" appears and dominion is given to the "Son of Man" and the "saints of the Most High." Times may change but nothing changes the fact that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
Our world can be a source of great fear. It can produce tremendous anxiety that leads us to be so paranoid about our hopes and goals, we wind up fighting for or defending the dumbest things. Yet, as Christians, we can "rest" assured that our God is completely in charge. He will guide and protect you. In uncertain times, our God is still a certain hope for us to hold onto and He will be tomorrow also!
Hiram Claudio is a minister and bible teacher who has traveled to 8 nations spreading the Good News of faith in Christ and victory through His name. He is married (for 29 years). He and his wife live in New York and have two sons.