by Matt Slick
Sovereignty in relation to God means that God has the absolute right to do with His creation as He desires. Some verses that support this are as follows: Psalm 115:3, "But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases." Isaiah 46:10, "Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;" Dan.4:35, "And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, What hast Thou done?"
As you can see, God declares that He does what He wants in heaven and on earth. But, in light of this declaration, some of us might ask, "If God is sovereign and can do what He wants in the world, then why doesn't He get rid of sin? Why doesn't He heal all sickness? Why doesn't God save more people, or all people? Why does He allow terrorists to strike? Why do the wicked prosper? etc." We can ask more personal questions such as, "Why did my baby die? Why is it that when I pray for someone to be well, they stay sick or seem to heal naturally later? Why is it my friend (or me) lost my job and am having so much trouble finding work? Why am I still suffering from xxxxxx when I ask the Lord to deliver me from it?" The questions can go on and on.
As Christians we have to face the fact that these questions don't have easy answers. We are told that in spite of what we see, God is in control, that the answers are sometimes beyond us, that we need to trust God, that these things are the result of sin in the world and that God is letting it have its course, etc. Though these answers are all true, they do not always comfort because our pain sometimes over-rides our faith. In light of that, let me tell you a true story of suffering that was lessened by trusting in God and His sovereignty even though the prayer for healing was not answered.
A few years ago, my wife and I were expecting our second child. At six months, after one of the routine examines during pregnancy, the doctor discovered a problem with the baby. Our child, whom we named Jacob, had holoprocencephaly -- a chromosome problem that resulted in various deformities in Jacob's body. In short, Jacob could survive in the womb, but would most certainly not be able to survive outside it. Our son was going to die.
Abortion was not an option for us. Instead, we prayed and asked the Lord to miraculously heal Jacob during the remaining three months of pregnancy. We prayed and trusted God. Finally, when it was time for Jacob to be born, my wife endured the pains of childbirth and delivered Jacob into our hands. One half our later, the Lord took Him home. Jacob died in our arms.
After the funeral and after many tears, people came up to us and wanted to know how we were doing. We told them that in spite of the pain and the loss, we were fine. We had trusted God and relied on His wisdom, not ours, to handle the situation. We knew that because God was sovereign, that He had allowed us to suffer this trauma. And, even though we did not understand why, my wife and I were able to trust God to know that HE understood why. We would simply find out when we finally went to be with the Lord ourselves.
Now, this is the thing that so many Christians need to learn as difficult as it may be to accept. God is sovereign. He has the right to take us at any time. He has the right to allow our children to die. He has the right to let sickness bring us suffering. He has the right to do with us as we will and to allow things to happen to us that we cannot comprehend and that we cannot explain. He owes us nothing. Yet, He loves us and is gracious. His grace and love to use are based upon His Son Jesus who died on the cross and rose again for our sins. It is because of Jesus and only because of Jesus that we receive any good at all from the Lord. It is not because we are good in ourselves or deserve some sort of compassion from God. We do not, not one bit. But, because of who God is, not because of who we are, God loves us and cares deeply for us.
Nevertheless, pain and suffering are a real part of our lives and we cannot help but wonder sometimes "Why?" The answer lies in God's all-knowing character who knows better than we do why things happen the way they do. These reasons He has not decided to reveal to us. Therefore, we need to trust God that He loves us and that even though we might suffer great loss, God is still in control. Sometimes, it comes down to trusting God beyond your ability to comprehend.
Do you trust God that much? Have you relinquished yourself, your life, your breath (as Jesus did) to the Father of Glory so that He might do with you as He wishes even if it means sending you to some place you do not want to go -- as in your own cross?
Faith in God is never misplaced. But, answers do not always arrive. Therefore, trust God in spite of what you see. Praise His name in the middle of your circumstances and bring glory to Him through Jesus.