I recently browsed a very interesting article online via MSN titled “How weather has changed the world”. As I read I was reminded of events such as the devastating blow dealt to New Orleans compliments of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I also learned of sinkholes appearing all over the Dead Sea where the water has evaporated due to high temperatures and drought and if it continues to dry out at the current rate, some experts estimate that it could be completely dry by 2050. I thought about the Dodge Ram Truck commercial that shows a couple enjoying the sounds of “California Souls” while driving through the “tunnel tree” located in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California, and how that giant sequoia no longer stands after more than one thousand years because in 2017 when one of the worst storms of more than a decade came along it felled the giant tree. As I write this post there is a hurricane which has been named “Hurricane Harvey” moving into the Texas Coast area. Our National Weather Service in Houston announced the impact could leave wide bands of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months”.
Tragic events uncover our deepest, most personal questions about God. The question on the minds of many when these things happen is, “Where is God in all of this?” Perhaps even more urgently they ask, “Where is He concerning the adversities in my personal life?” In the midst of such questioning, it is time to ask the question: Is God really in control?
We inherently know that control is a myth, that one rogue cell or another person’s choices can instantly change the direction of our lives, but we still fight for it and even demand it. Some people find it appealing and even believe that they have control over a certain amount of life. They believe that God is constantly revising His plans to accommodate theirs. The book of Job is a clear illustration of just who has the sovereign power and who doesn’t. Satan came to God and, in effect, said, “Job only serves you because you protect him.” So God gave Satan permission to do certain things to Job but no more (Job 1:6–22). Unlimited in power, unrivaled in majesty, and not thwarted by anything outside Himself, God is in complete control of all circumstances, causing or allowing them for His own good purposes and plans to be fulfilled exactly as He has foreordained.
The Bible tells us that evil does not come from God, nor can we blame God for all the evils in the world. Evil comes instead from Satan, and it entered this world when Satan deceived Adam and Eve and caused them to turn against God. Both evil and Satan are real, and the two go hand-in-hand. The Bible tells us that God can give us victory over evil. This doesn’t mean bad things will never happen to us—but even when they do, we can know God is with us, and He will give us strength to stand against them.
God isn’t finding out what’s going to happen as events unfold. He is continuously, actively running—ALL things—here and now. But to think He needs our cooperation, our help, or the exercise of our free will to bring His plans to pass puts us in control over Him, which makes us God. It’s a rehash of Satan’s same old lie from the Garden—you shall be like God (Genesis 3:5).
One of our problems with the sovereignty of God is that it frequently does not appear that God is in control of the circumstances of our lives. We see unjust, uncaring or even clearly wicked people doing things that adversely affect us. We experience the consequences of other people’s mistakes and failures. We even do foolish and sinful things ourselves and suffer the often-bitter fruit of our actions.
But it is the ability of God to so arrange diverse human actions to fulfill His purpose that makes His sovereignty marvelous and yet mysterious. Just as God’s rule is invincible, so it is incomprehensible. It remains in mystery. His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). His judgments are unsearchable, and His paths are beyond tracing out (Romans 11:33).
If we could only immerse ourselves deeply in His Word and let it fill our minds and hearts, the sovereignty of God will become clear to us, and we will rejoice in it as we will come to intimately and completely know and trust the God who controls all things for His perfect purpose.