"In him all things hold together"

Walking home this beautiful, cool morning, after dropping Heather off at the commuter train, I was loving life. At times like this I think, "In [God] we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17.28) Or remember this passage:

"In [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Col 1.16-17)
At times like this it's easy to believe the world is in God's hands and it is very good.

But there's another angle to this, which I was reminded of when I then read the familiar story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8.1-11). That mob with stones seemed like a set-up for something very bad. Yet even then Jesus didn't panic, but calmly knelt and wrote in the dirt, demonstrating a remarkable faith that God was in control. I see the same faith behind teachings like these:
"Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Mt 5.39-41)

This is powerful. So I've tried to live this and point to this, especially with Christians who feel they need to stop evil--if not by violent means, then by direct nonviolent resistance (such as becoming "human shields," or organizing strikes or boycotts, etc). I recall a discussion on this topic in the Jesus Radicals forum a while back. Here's some of what I wrote:
The only incident in Jesus' life that seems to even remotely resemble these human shield-"getting in the way" methods is his money-changer-tossing. But, as I've written elsewhere, I don't see any evidence that Jesus' (prophetic) outburst in the temple was some kind of strategy to "get in the way" of the money changers' business. How many times was he in the temple, and he does this only once? And I'm sure it was a insignificant pause in their business...

I really don't see anywhere in Jesus' life (or teaching) that he tried to stop people from sinning (by interfering physically, economically, or politically). He appealed to them, rebuked them, set a challenging counter-example by the way he lived. But his actions and teachings (such as the sermon on the mount) are wide open to the accusation that he "let" evil men continue to do evil. I think that's a big part of the "offense" of the Jesus' gospel--but it's there.

The positive side of this (viewed from the perspective of faith) is that Jesus was free from the fear and frustration and despair that plagues most of us in the presence of injustice and evil. He knew he didn't have to stop the evil man from sinning--he just had to be a witness for the truth. Everything else was securely in God's hand.

When Peter tried to "get in the way" of Jesus' arrest, Jesus rebuked him. And John's version shows that it was more than just a concern for nonviolence:
Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?"
Jesus' arrest was more unjust than anything we might encounter. Yet he did not try to stop it (or let Peter do so), except by appealing to the truth (for example, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"). Because he did not have to stop what God had chosen to allow.