Control freak? Who, me?

There was a kid in my elementary school who earned the nickname “Dictionary.”  Randy was smart, especially in math and science.  He understood big words.  His family visited a lot of museums, historical sites, and natural wonders.  When we studied the tides in the Bay of Fundy, he had pictures from his camping trip there.  He owned a telescope.  About the only thing Dictionary didn’t know was which end of a hockey stick to hold.  We joked that all he did at home was read the dictionary.  A legend was born.

I’ve never sat down just to read through a dictionary (not yet anyway, but if this stay-at-home thing continues much longer . . .).

Here are three words for you on this Wednesday Words blog: allusive, elusive, and illusive.  According to, here is the difference between the three (hang on - I know I’m geeking out in honour of my friend Randy - just stick with me a moment):

Allusive refers to a statement or reference that is suggestive.

Illusive means not based on reality, deceptive.

Elusive means difficult to catch, to find, to remember.

Words matter.  These are great descriptions of the idea of CONTROL, the sense that we have mastery over something and can determine its interactions.  This is a fallacy.  Control is allusive, illusive, and elusive.  Yes, we can exert influence that often creates desired results, and normally (thanks to God’s common grace) these results are repeatable.  This is the foundation of the scientific method.  It thus deludes us into believing we have control.

Why, then, does the world seem to be spinning out of control?

Because it is.  At least out of OUR control, but not God’s.  We can see His fingerprints everywhere.  The reliability and consistency of the created order (sunrise and sunset, the regularity of the seasons, the movement of the celestial bodies) is huge evidence of God’s control.  The birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at just the right time (Gal. 4:4) is evidence of God’s control.  

The best part is that this God, the Creator and Controller, is neither allusive nor illusive nor elusive.  He invites us to know Him, to walk with Him, and to trust Him.  Our challenge is to be willing to acknowledge that HIS control is real while ours - which we crave and constantly pursue - is allusive, illusive, and elusive.  Control is our fantasy but God’s reality.

How are you doing these days?  All of us are feeling it.  We are all carrying burdens and stresses.  Yet God is ever present, caring, and engaged.  He may be hidden, behind the scenes, but He is not absent. And it is OK to struggle to embrace that reality.  We all do.  It is counter-intuitive.  That does not alter the truth.

The Psalmist wrote with such confidence:

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.  
(Psa 46:1-3 NAU)

God is reliable and consistent even though there is unpredictability within His created order.  According to Solomon (Eccl. 3:9-14), God does this so we will fear HIM.  Not the circumstances.  Not the outcomes.  What should overwhelm us the most is that the Creator God is infinite in love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness toward all of us.

I love to to be in control.  We all do.  So let’s commit to each other, together as a community, to help each other see the hand of God and learn to be overwhelmed by Him.  He is God.  We are not.  Thank God!

Graham Bulmer
Lead Pastor
Graham and Sharon Bulmer bring many years of pastoral, teaching, leadership development and administrative experience to the Q50 Community Church plant. They served in Latin America as missionaries for almost 15 years, and have pastored here in Canada.