I think that learning to trust in God’s sovereign hand in my life and in all of creation is a lesson that I will be learning my entire life.
I have had several hard “valleys” come along in my life in order to learn this lesson. I have found that God has been merciful in preparing me ahead of these great times of darkness so that I was able to grope my way through them – knowing that the Lord was walking along beside me and with a knowledge of His love for me and his promise to cause all things to work for good in my life. Just so you understand where I am coming from, God’s “good” he brings into my life is that He is making me into a more perfect reflection of Christ to the world. (Rom. 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.)
It might be the earthquake in Haiti, the collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis, 9/11, or a personal trial that stops us in our tracks. These tragedies leave people hurt and questioning God’s involvement. We have two choices, don’t we? We can believe that God is in complete control of His creation – which includes people and nature – OR – we can believe that God isn’t able to stop bad things from happening, but is hoping that He can make something good come out of them after the fact.
Matthew 10:29-31 are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
With a belief in the first choice we may not always “like” what has happened, nor do we understand “why” it has happened, but we can safely and securely rest in the knowledge that God was in complete control of the circumstance and has ordained that it come to pass – either by His allowing or causing.
In the second choice, we are left to wonder what may hit us next and will we have any idea of any purpose in these tragedies when they come. There is no comfort, no security in this choice is there?
Thank goodness we do not make a choice! Whether we choose to believe it or not God IS in control of all things. He is almighty and sovereign over all his creation.
Daniel 4:35 He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?‘
I was just re-reading an article in Tabletalk magazine by R.C. Sproul, Jr. He says this about God’s sovereignty:
……….How, though, can we move from simply affirming the sovereignty of God to resting in it? We will rest in His sovereignty when we remember not just that He is almighty, but that He who is almighty loves us with an everlasting love. It is because He is with us in the valley of death that we do not fear. It is because He has prepared a table in the presence of our enemies that we can be assured that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives……………………Psalm 46:8-11 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I think this is an important step – remembering that we are children of God and that He loves us. We are not making a choice between believing that God is sovereign OR that He is good and loving. He is both.
Jerry Bridges says in Trusting God, “The one element that should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.”
Psalm 33:10-11 The LORD fails the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Romans 11:33-34 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Another quote from “Trusting God“,
“As God’s rule is invincible, so it is incomprehensible. his ways are higher than our ways. His judgments are unsearchable and His paths are beyond tracing out. The sovereignty of God is often questioned because man does not understand what God is doing. Because He does not act as we think He should, we conclude He cannot act as we think He would.”
This is not an easy doctrine to grasp. I am, however, so thankful that God taught me this before Grant died because it would have been SO MUCH HARDER to go through that if He had not. As I said in the beginning, I am still working on this. Every day. The Christian walk is a road of faith in a God Who has revealed Himself to us in His word and we seek to learn more about Him every day. It is a journey. How thankful I am for the hope and security we have in eternity because of what Christ accomplished on our behalf!
Augustine said, “Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen: he either permits it to happen, or he brings it about Himself.”