In a commendable effort to try to cheer up a miserable world, popular actor Tyler Perry asked his many friends to sing the famous song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” which he then uploaded to YouTube.
But there’s a glaring problem here. To say that God has the whole world in His hands clashes head on with the world’s perception of reality. It’s to fiddle while Rome burns. We are living in a nightmare of chaos, death, and terrible suffering, and these people are singing lyrics of a song that sounds like they think all is well because God is in control. It’s understandable for a thinking skeptic to say it’s very clear that He’s not.
Take for example the recent headline “Earthquake strikes Italy near worst-hit area for coronavirus.” Where is God in that? Can’t He stop earthquakes and help all the suffering? An earthquake just adds to it. South Carolina has been ravaged with the virus, yet their suffering is compounded when they were hit by a whole stack of killer tornados. And these continual tragedies are just the tiny tip of the iceberg of human suffering. How can anyone in their right mind sing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands”? That’s a legitimate question.
As Christians, we take tremendous comfort in the thought that God does indeed have the whole world in His hands. We know that there is not a flea that jumps, a dog that barks, an earthquake that rumbles, a tornado, hurricane, or plague that kills without the permissive will of God. Nothing in this universe happens without God allowing it to happen. Not one electron goes around the nucleus of a single atom without God. This is because He created it, set it into motion, and has it in His hands. And in that sense, He’s got the whole world in His hands, and that is extremely consoling to the faithful.
But to give this comfort to the ungodly—to give the impression that all is well to those who are still in their sins—is to do them the ultimate disservice, and it’s to betray the cause of our faith. It’s to give a placebo to the terminally ill when we should be giving them the cure to their disease. The unsaved should never be comforted with a false hope. Rather, they need the cure of the gospel.
Our true message, according to the Scriptures, is that He’s got the whole world under His wrath, and the cold facts of human suffering and our impending death are stark evidence of this. God is serious about sin. And until our sins are forgiven though faith in Jesus, the Bible calls us “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3–5) and “enemies in [our] mind by wicked works” (Colossians 1:21).
So how can we say such hard things without angering our already pained hearers? There is a way. It’s by having a loving and gentle tone, and by appealing to the human conscience like Jesus did. May God help us to do that.
You may like to watch our videos to see how this is done.