In This I Rest by Lisa Spence

Take a cup of coffee (or tea if you happen to live in UK), and enjoy a wonderful time reading what an “ordinary woman, living an ordinary life…” shares with us today. Thank you, Lisa, for preparing something so precious for us. Thank you, for being in the Kitchen with us, what a joy it is to have you here!

Annie Pliego Photography
I live in north Alabama where tornado watches and warnings are part and parcel to our spring season. A couple of years ago I wrote a post musing on God’s sovereignty while under one such warning. Looking back on that post is an exercise in irony since a year later the possibility of which I wrote became heartbreaking reality. On a Saturday night last April a tornado cut a swath through my community wreaking destruction on much of our small town including our schools (though our home was spared). No lives were lost but the devastation was just that, devastating. Pondering the sovereignty of God moved from the abstract and the academic to the real and the personal.
Looking over the tornado damage, my eyes full of tears as I realized the extent of the destruction, I knew the kind of peace and comfort that accompanies a trust in a faithful, sovereign God. In the days following I wrote of the comfort and the security that come with knowing that God is sovereign.
It is one thing to affirm God’s sovereignty while sitting in front of my laptop in my comfortable home. It is another thing entirely to consider the omnipotence of a sovereign God when one is reeling from the aftermath of a tornado…or a tsunami…or a heartache…or an overwhelming loss…or any other disappointment, large or small. In the throes of struggles and trials the providence of God can seem mysterious and perhaps even confusing. Where is He? Does He care? Does He see? How can He allow such pain? Why?
Through the years of my journey with Christ with its many twist and turns, ups and downs, I have asked these same questions, and more. My assertion in God’s sovereignty that stormy night last April did not suddenly manifest itself upon hearing the damage reports on the radio. No, I knew it to be true because the Bible told me so.
No serious student of the Bible can deny God is sovereign. The truth of His reign and His rule is emphatically and unwaveringly declared throughout Scripture. In Daniel 4:34-35, we read that His dominion is everlasting, that He does according to His will and that none can stay His hand! Ephesians 1 emphasizes the truth that He works all things (ALL things) according to the counsel of His will and Psalm 135:6 tells us that whatever He pleases, He does. He is Almighty God, possessing all power and all authority. He has total control over all that occurs; He determines a man’s steps; He upholds the universe by the word of His power. All aspects of our lives and universe are under His providential care.
Sometimes we resent and resist His sovereignty, thinking it’s not fair, that we deserve–or don’t deserve–this or that. Ultimately, whether I find His sovereign control a source of refuge or resentment depends on what I know of His character. His Word tells me He is good, that His mercy endures forever, that He works all things according to His will for our good and His glory, that He has a purpose and a plan. There are no surprises to Him. I can trust Him no matter my situation. What grace!
This reminds me of how critical it is to be engaged in a diligent study of His Word. Listen, trials come. I don’t have to tell you that. Life is hard. Sooner or later you and I will both be faced with the sort of difficulty that will tempt us to doubt the Lord’s gracious providence. What then? How do we gain the knowledge of God’s character and His ways that will sustain through the trials that come? In His Word! We must study it, know it, meditate on it, live it, apply it, hunger for more of it, submit to it. Our ability to faithfully persevere will be directly influenced by our pursuit of the revelation of the knowledge of God in the pages of His living Word.
Becky has asked us to consider how various doctrines affect our real lives, how these precious truths of the faith make a difference in the kitchen as it were. One may think that a growing understanding of the Lord’s sovereignty could lead to fatalism, that mindset that says since God’s in total control and what He says will happen will happen, why does it matter what I do? In fact, quite the opposite has proven true. Belief in God’s providence grants me boldness. Rather than sitting back in some fatalistic non-action, I am compelled to act, to go, to tell, to pray, to move forward in courageous confidence because I know my Lord works and wills to achieve His purposes.
Not only that, but the sovereign rule of God is also a comfort. I can rest because I know that no matter what comes—tornado, trial or temptation—He is sufficient. He is working it out. His glory is my chief desire and I can trust that through every circumstance He is at work according to the counsel of His will and His good pleasure. It is not in vain! He will be faithful! He will be glorified! What peace!
Considering God’s sovereignty also reminds me of my own helplessness. He is God and I am not; this truth reveals my desperate need in humiliating and devastating clarity. I cannot save myself. I know that my sin condemns me. In my depravity and rebellion, I deserve death. That I have breath for this day is only due to the grace of my sovereign God. Apart from His grace I am helpless and lost; I need a Savior. God is all-powerful, He is sovereign, and He has saved me to the uttermost; nothing and no one can snatch me from His hand.
I wouldn’t dare presume to minimize the very real heartache and grief behind some of our very real and very painful struggles. Yet I am confident of this: there is hope. Even in the most difficult of circumstances and the most heartbreaking of pains, there is a plan. There is a purpose. God is good. He holds all things in His omnipotent, sovereign hand. He loves His children and will not allow anything to separate them from His love in His Son. Though I do not understand fully, it is enough. In this I rest.
Lisa
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15 thoughts on “In This I Rest by Lisa Spence

  1. >I wondered why I didn't get to read this until Monday morning, and now I know. We had tornadoes here (a very rare occurrence) this weekend. My family was not harmed, and I don't even have close friends affected. Still, the devastation is horrible. Like you, I must rest in the sovereignty of God.You know how much I love you, sweet sister!

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  2. >My growing awareness of God's sovereignty has increased my peace, faith, and courage greatly. Thank you for this wonderful spread, Lisa! Good to meet you through these words and Becky's great kitchen. Oh, and let sweet Becky know that I was enjoying a cup of tea, with milk and sugar!

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  3. >The doctrine of the sovereignty of God brings much comfort and hope to me. It has upheld me through the death of my child, through brain damage of another, and physical difficulties of another. His ways and works are far beyond our comprehension, but because He has shown us Himself in His Word, we can be assured that all is well because His hand is at the helm. Thank you for this excellent post, Lisa, and for sharing your heart with us.

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  4. >Dear Lisa,This was wonderful. Right now, I feel as though I'm sitting ensconced in the eye of the storm while the tempest rages all around. And I will say that this is solely due to what you said:"His glory is my chief desire and I can trust that through every circumstance He is at work according to the counsel of His will and His good pleasure." Thank you so much for sharing your faith in the kitchen where the food is guaranteed fresh and delicious:) -E

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  5. >"Our ability to faithfully persevere will be directly influenced by our pursuit of the revelation of the knowledge of God in the pages of His living Word."Thank you Lisa for an excellent article! I'm glad you chose to write on this doctrine and the title you've chosen is so fitting.I find the Sovereignty of God to be THE most comforting of all doctrines in Scripture. As we say often around our house, "Life is hard and then you die". This is true for believers and non believers alike. But oh! The refuge the believer can take knowing He's the blessed controller of it all!And how beautifully you summed it up:"His Word tells me He is good, that His mercy endures forever, that He works all things according to His will for our good and His glory, that He has a purpose and a plan. There are no surprises to Him. I can trust Him no matter my situation. What grace!"God bless you today sister!

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  6. >I'm so thankful for you, Lisa. This is excellent. And I love the way you ended it. Oh, that I would grasp the love of God shown to me in Christ…if only I lived like I believe that His love is better than life.

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  7. >Such great truth spoken from the trenches. ""I can rest because I know that no matter what comes—tornado, trial or temptation—He is sufficient." If we never get the chance to stretch our faith and lean on God and His power during trails, is it really faith? I have learned this one the hard way. God's word is indeed alive and kicking folks, and it becomes real when it's no longer just words on a page. Well done Lisa! God's sovereignty has been my anchor in many a storm. Like Persis I am so pleased you wrote about this. Thank you.

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  8. >"Yet I am confident of this: there is hope. Even in the most difficult of circumstances and the most heartbreaking of pains, there is a plan. There is a purpose. God is good. He holds all things in His omnipotent, sovereign hand. He loves His children and will not allow anything to separate them from His love in His Son. Though I do not understand fully, it is enough. In this I rest."Thank you so much for this post, Lisa. I was hoping someone would write about the sovereignty of God. This is a truth I learned the hard way through my ex-husband's desertion. But this is a foundation that has stood firm through the pain of divorce. I can attest to God's goodness through the trials. His sovereignty is truly the best place to rest.

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  9. >Lisa! I love this! What an amazing and well written article on a doctrine that has proven to be so stabilizing to me as well! I so love what you said here: "Belief in God’s providence grants me boldness. Rather than sitting back in some fatalistic non-action, I am compelled to act, to go, to tell.." AMEN! Knowing that nothing, absolutely nothing, will thwart the purposes of God produces great boldness where fear would otherwise rule! Also, I love what you said here: "I can rest because I know that no matter what comes—tornado, trial or temptation—He is sufficient. He is working it out" AMEN! God, He reigns! AMEN to EVERYTHING you have written dear sister! Thank you for blessing us this morning with the God glorifying truth of our Lord's absolute sovereignty!Love and every blessing to you!

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  10. >Well, I'm in the kitchen whilst the rest of the world is still fast asleep, surreptitiously drinking my cup of tea, and marvelling over this article, Lisa! Trying to grasp God's sovereignty has caused me no end of "brain tilt" in the past year – a term coined by Elizabeth DeBarros, which results when we try to understand in full what God only intends for us to grasp little by little 🙂 I have literally been laid low, on the floor face down, before my Sovereign God, marvelling at His work.I love, love, love your conclusion: "Though I do not understand fully, it is enough. In this I rest." Amen. What a way to start my day. Bless you, Lisa!

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