Lorraine Hill’s discussion today centers on the Sovereignty of God. Coming to know this aspect of God’s character has been pivotal in my personal joy journey. I was in the “love” camp when I was young. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). But only knowing God only as “love” leaves you with two choices when hard times come. I am sure you have heard (or said), “that is not from God” when tragedy strikes (because He is good and nothing bad could come from Him). Understand what this means? If “that is not from God”, then was He (1) asleep on the job when it happened? Or is He (2) somehow less powerful than the evil that has prevailed and therefore unable to protect us? Thoughts like this began to lead me to some real disappointment…how could this be true of Almighty God? But I eliminated these both fairly quickly by studying God’s Word: Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Is 46:8-10).
I began to really understand God’s power over life and death, and all that lay between, I grew troubled. Having only a partial understanding of God’s Sovereignty is most unsettling. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things (Is 45:6-7). AND For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and He chooses to harden the hearts of others, so they will refuse to listen (Rom 9:14-18). A poor understanding of God’s Sovereignty can lead us to see God as more ruthless than loving and somewhat arbitrary, rather than purposeful. We can become fearful – afraid. Now, this is not from God. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7). Rather, the “fear of God” is the kind of healthy respect we must have for our Almighty God: Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all (2 Chr 29:11-12).
God’s Sovereignty (His rightful rule over all of Creation) both displays His goodness and fulfills His purpose, because they are the same. It is because He loves us and wants what is best for us that He would carry out His eternal plans in our lives, even if this results in our earthly pain. Paul had his “thorn in the flesh”, a constant trial; and he prayed for it be removed, yet accepted God’s answer of “No”, as for his greater good: And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:9-10). God’s purpose is larger than our comfort but we can be assured that it is for our good (Rom 8:28) and, indeed, is for the good of others as well. Think of Joseph’s response to all the injustice he had endured: As for you, you meant evil against me,but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Gen 50:20). Or Mordecai’s appeal to Esther: For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). God is able to see the big picture when we cannot – we must remember this about Him.
It is only in knowing God better that we can trust Him and accept His will for us. And He has given us His Word so we can learn about who He is. There is so much comfort there! My biggest take home message from studying the Bible? I know now that, whatever the circumstance, God is always seeking a deeper relationship with me than I can comprehend. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘˜plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart (Jer 29:11-13).
JustAgirl…just like you