When we look around at our fallen world, it often appears that God has lost control. It seems as if God is far away and distant, neglecting to answer our prayers. We readily see the sinfulness of man. We are constantly reminded of brokenness, inside others, as well as, in ourselves. It begs the question…Where in the world is God? Is God in control? Of, has He left us to our demise?
If you’ve been in church for a while, chances are you’ve probably heard a sermon preached about the sovereignty of God. But what do those words mean? God’s Sovereign Will. Virtually all Christians say they believe in the sovereignty of God. They would nod their head in a sermon or shout out, “Amen.” We somehow know we are supposed to. There are too many Scriptures for this truth to be denied.
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all (Psalm 103:19). But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). For I know that the LORD is great And that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and the earth, in the seas and all deeps (Psalm 135:5-6).
Maybe the best place for us to begin is by backing up a step to define what sovereignty is…
Sovereignty means God can do what He says He will and will not do.
He is the final authority. The Utmost High. Subject to none, governed by none, acting autonomously. God does as He pleases, whenever He pleases, how He pleases, with whom He pleases. After all, He alone is God. He cannot be stopped or hindered. But if we are completely honest, it is right here with this fundamental definition that I think a lot of us struggle. We struggle to take God at His Word. Therefore, we fight and wrestle with how much God controls and we don’t stop there…we also question Him and ask “Why? Why does life have to be so hard? And why are you doing things this way? How much longer will this pain and suffering last?
God’s Word expressly declares: ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’ (Isa. 46:10); ‘He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand’ (Dan. 4:34).
We seem to be fine with God’s sovereignty as long as things are going our way. But as soon the rubber hits the road, look out…we begin to flounder. We allow the Enemy to waltz right in and pose the question: “Do you believe what God says?” It becomes a matter of trust. Will we believe what God has to say or take matters into our own hands? The crux of the issue becomes who reigns sovereign in our own lives…God Almighty or ourselves?
In Genesis 3, we see Adam and Eve struggle as they doubt the sovereignty of God. Rather than believing what God says to be the ultimate authority, they determine that they want to do things their way. They question God’s supremacy. They take a bite. And so, honestly, we fall in the same way as our predecessors…we fail to recognize and respect the supreme authority of God.
“Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties.
They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth, and we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.” –Charles Spurgeon
Our faith is truly tested when God does something that we do not like. Will we allow God to be God? Do we trust that God is in control? To do whatsoever He pleases? Will we bow bended knee when He gives and takes away (Job 1:21) or instead, resist, and run the other way?
“While other worldviews lead us to sit amid life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.” Timothy Keller, “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering” (p.31)
As believers, we have been given a tremendous gift…we don’t have to have all of life’s answers. Likewise, we don’t have to explain all the woes. And we don’t have to figure everything out. We can grab hold of joy and rejoice that we know the One who does! God is in control!