Inspirational Thought of the Day:
God redeems our mistakes and uses them to fulfill His perfect purposes.
Scripture of the Day:
O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
Romans 8:28 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.”
Sovereignty is a word that at once evokes comfort and fear simultaneously. We want to believe in a God Who is all-powerful and all-knowing, in complete control of everything. We just aren’t so comfortable with the fact that the other side of sovereignty sometimes means this awesome God also sovereignly allows suffering into our lives.
We tend to translate the truth of God’s sovereignty into believing Christians will have a painless life – if they have enough faith. The mystery of God’s sovereignty is much more complex than our simple definition of what is good or bad, though.
Enter mankind and his sins. How in the world is God sovereign over that?
As only our infinite God could, He weaves the reality of sin with His perfect plan and uses it all – for good. I know, we have all heard that verse many times, and frankly, it was not one of my favorite verses when I was smack dab in the middle of intense suffering. It was hard to see anything good that could possibly come from the mess I was in. But that was before I understood that my definition of good was skewed – in favor of me.
Dispensing with the perception that God’s sovereignty means inactivity on His part or a fatalistic, apathetic view on our part, we still have to wrestle with the reality that God sovereignly allows suffering. But without the pain we would not be grateful for the times when we do not have pain.
If God knew ahead of time that we would sin, how is man to blame?
God’s foreknowledge of our sins does not equate to culpability on His part. We cannot have it both ways. Either we have free will and are able to choose to sin or not, or God creates us to be robots with no will of our own. Man’s free will and God’s overriding omniscience work in tandem and somehow amazingly God redeems our mistakes and uses them to fulfill His perfect purposes. In the hands of God, He is able to take what was meant for evil and use it for good.
When our expectations for life are shattered, there is peace in resting in God’s sovereignty. We are seen by a loving God. He will never forsake His children. He is All-Powerful and able to take our circumstances and turn them around. The patience, perseverance and beautiful character formed in the midst make it all worth it.
How about when other people’s sin causes us pain?
Why do we blame Him in the first place when sin and free will cause most of the messes we encounter? The same free will we want for ourselves we cannot take from others, even if they wrought pain in our lives. Can God restore our faith when it has been dashed to pieces? Can He use the death of dreams to bring new life?
Yes and Amen! Will the pain ever stop and the shame ever go away? Absolutely! But we might be surprised at how God uses the very thing we scorn.
Like Paul who said he was “under great pressure far beyond his ability to endure…but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead”, we begin to understand that we will be tested beyond our ability, but never beyond God’s. His grace truly is sufficient. We just need to learn how to access it when the world is upside down.
We can learn much from the Israelites. It was in their suffering that God made Himself available to them. When they were blessed before, they had forgotten God and were distracted with things of lesser value. Hardship had gotten their attention and had revealed to them that they were missing what mattered most – Knowing and enjoying God in this life that He gave.
For the Christian, there is hope in suffering because of our hope in God’s sovereignty. He is faithful and He is a Redeemer of everything that transpires in our lives, all for His glory.
Lord, I stand in awe of You! I am so grateful that You are in complete control. Help us to surrender to Your sovereignty and trust in You always.
This song by Chris Tomlin says it well. Our God is sovereign.