Over the past month, I’ve talked about our limited human understanding, God’s infinite wisdom, and His amazing plan for all His children. Before I bring this discussion to a close, there are two things that I’d like to leave you with that are essential to understanding our trials. If you don’t remember anything else that I’ve said, at least remember this.
God is Sovereign
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard this a lot–so often, in fact, that when your pastor leans over the pulpit, peering at you over his glasses, and shouts out across the sanctuary that God is sovereign, it goes in one ear and out the other. Just like that, your brain determines that because you’ve heard it so many times, it is no longer relevant. Sure, God’s sovereign, but what’s the big deal?
Well, before I answer that question, I’m going to back up and toss out another one. What does it mean to be sovereign? According to my good friend Professor Google, when used as a noun, sovereign refers to “a supreme ruler, especially a monarch.” This word’s use as an adjective is even more revealing. Once again, according to Google, the adjective form of sovereign means “possessing supreme and ultimate power.”
Ultimate power? Supreme ruler? That is some strong language. As humans, we can’t even fathom having ultimate power, let alone that such power would exist. But, my friends, that is exactly what we refer to when we say that God is sovereign! God is the supreme ruler possessing ultimate power.
This leads me to wonder, do we really see God this way? It’s easy as a Christian to get so familiar with Biblical facts and theology that when we hear them, it doesn’t impact us like it should. We nod our heads in agreement, but we don’t take the time to use those same heads to consider the implications of what we’re hearing. I am guilty of this just as much as anyone. The Bible, however, is just too important to go in one ear and out the other.
When someone tells us that God is sovereign, we shouldn’t be asking what the big deal is. Instead, we should be asking how it could not be a big deal? After all, if God possesses such awesome power, that means He can make anything He wants happen. If He is a supreme ruler, then everyone is under Him, and no one can do anything without His permission. If He is sovereign, then every circumstance we face must be because He has ordained it to happen.
My friends, our entire discussion would be meaningless without the truth of God’s sovereignty. Who cares if He has a great plan for you if He doesn’t have the power to bring it about? Who cares if He’s all-wise if He doesn’t have the ability to exercise that wisdom?
Even when your life seems to be spinning out of control, it is never out of His control. Everything you face is because He has put it before you. You don’t have to be scared that God is up there scratching His head wondering, “How did that happen?” God never wonders. Everything happens because He wants it to. He is in complete control. No contest.
God Loves You
Some Christians are frightened by the idea that God is all-powerful because they are afraid He might use that power against them to hurt them. I know that seems silly when it is all typed out in black and white, but when you’re in the midst of something truly agonizing, has that thought ever crossed your mind? Have you ever wondered if God has brought a circumstance into your life without any care to what it might do to you and how you might suffer? Have you ever thought that God has used His power against you just to be mean?
It saddens me to think that so many Christians live in fear of God and what He might do to them. Dear reader, if you are one of these Christians, then I beg you to consider what I am about to say.
God loves you.
He’s not perched on a cloud clutching a sizzling lightning bolt in His hand, ready to strike down the next person that crosses His path. Our God is not Zeus. In fact, He is just the opposite. Everything God does, He does for you because He loves you. There is no time in your life as a Christian teenager or as a grown adult that God will ever be working against you. In fact, God brings suffering into the lives of His children because He loves you.
This doesn’t mean that God delights in seeing you hurt. It pains God to see you suffer, but, like any good Father would, He brings things into our lives that are painful because He knows they will result in something wonderful. And, unlike us, God fully understands that our sufferings are worth everything that He has in store. God loves you so much that He died a brutal, excruciating death for you. Don’t ever forget that. If there is any time that you are in doubt of His love, remember only that.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.1 John 4:10
If He loved you so much that He died for you, He’s not about to abandon you when things get hard.
I started this discussion a couple of weeks ago by highlighting God’s plan for you, and I’d like to end it with the reminder that He has the power to bring it about, and He does it all because He loves you. This isn’t the last post I’ll write about suffering, nor have I exhausted all there is to say about this complicated subject. Nevertheless, I hope that it has been some encouragement to you. You are not alone in what you face, and what you are going through at this moment won’t last forever. All I can say for now is remember who it is that lives in you. Our God is a God of power, wisdom, love, and might, and He will bring you through to the finish.