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!
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.