I believe that God is sovereign over all. That means that He has infinite control over the smallest details of my life just as much as the big ones. It is good to teach about this truth and it is good to believe this truth. But when the truth of God’s sovereignty hurts us or takes us by surprise, it could cause us to bring into question the things that we once believed so strongly.
Consider these questions:
When a member of your family is tragically killed, is God still sovereign and good?
When your loved one is suffering to the point that you are praying for the Lord to just take them home, is the Lord still good?
When the sovereignty of God crashes into what would have been considered our happy Christian life, do we still see the Lord’s sovereignty as something to boast about?
Even in times of great trial, God’s control is something that we all should lean on and hold to. Below are three things to think about when dealing with God’s sovereignty and calamity:
The Lord Sympathizes With Our Pain
We have a God that knows us perfectly, is always with us, and has created us uniquely (Psalm 139:1-18). He is an intimate Father who cares for His children. He sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to die in the place of murderers, God-haters, and adulterers. His perfect Son was substituted for us, an unholy people. Jesus not only died, He died the worst possible death, an innocent Man, crucified on the cross. It is upon this same Jesus that we are to “cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). The Lord clearly cares for His people. Some want to say that God’s sovereignty paints a picture of a malicious dictator. On the contrary, when you understand how intimate God really is you will find Him to be less of a tyrant and more of a loving father. When His plans run counter to yours, just remember that His love for you has not faltered. Most of us never doubted our earthly father’s love for us even if we didn’t always understand his ways. It should be the same with our heavenly Father. We can rest in the fact that He sympathizes with our pain. He gave up His own Son to be beaten and die because that was the only way to have His people redeemed.
A Christian Gives Up Right Of Ownership
In Romans chapter 6, Paul reminds us that we were once slaves to sin, having a skewed view of personal freedom. Through Christ we have now become slaves of righteousness, owing our life to the Lord. If you, by faith, call upon the name of the Lord for salvation, you are giving yourself over to Him and His kingdom. The Lord sometimes deems it necessary for His glory and His plan to shake up our life with what may seem like unbelievable tragedy. We must remember that we signed up to have His will be done before our own. Does this mean that we do not go before Him and petition for the life of our loved one? In no way! But in the end, we must remember that we have no right to say when a person lives or dies. He is the architect of all of life. He is the giver and taker of life. When we give up our ownership for something better, namely a relationship with God, we must understand that God’s ways are so much higher and better than our own. We are no longer the owner of our own life. We have sold ourselves into the service of the One who is always good and faithful. His ways are best and can be trusted.
The Lord Works All Things For Good
In times of tragedy some well meaning person may quote Romans 8:28 to you. Paul said, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” While it may be a true verse, it may not bring much comfort to you at the time of a death or another heartbreaking situation. The verse is, however, key for a broad, proper understanding of God’s sovereignty. Sometimes in God’s goodness He allows us to see His master plan during seemingly terrible events. Other times He does not. The one thing we can trust in is that no matter if we understand all of life or not, He does. By His very character He is always good. He is long-suffering. He is the embodiment of love itself. Tragedy is a byproduct of sin most of the time. It is hard to see the Lord working His sovereign will through a situation when clear sin is involved (murder, abortion, unjust firing from a job), but even then God in His wisdom truly is working all things for the good of His name and His people.
The complete sovereignty of God is a wonderful biblical truth. It has brought my family through some tough times in recent months. Holding to it does not promise you a life of complete happiness. What it does promise is to bring a certain amount of peace within life’s storms. We must always remember that the Lord is in control of the hard times in life and all the good ones, as well. If you are ever tempted to be angry with God over a terrible situation, just remember all of the wonderful times that He has blessed you with, for those times were His sovereign hands at work too. When the sovereignty of God collides with your happy little life remember that we can go to Him . . . that we can trust Him . . . and that we can fall at His feet and know that He is with us.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Adam B. Burrell