An apparently never-ending pandemic. Ongoing (sometimes intense) debates over requirements for the wearing of masks and the taking of a vaccine. Government mandates on matters of conscience. Wildfires ravaging the West. Growing political polarization. Continual turmoil both in our own nation as well as throughout the world. The Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan. Rising gas prices. Immigration issues at the border. National supply shortages. Difficult diagnoses. Tragic personal family news. Unexpected losses. Daily aches and pains. How is a Christian to keep his or her sanity in all of this? How can we sleep at night? The answer is found in remembering one precious truth about God.
That truth is His sovereignty over all things. The fact that He rules and reigns over everything in His creation and over whatever occurs or takes place. There is nothing outside of His sovereign control. “No maverick molecule exists in the universe” as R. C. Sproul has put it. Jesus stated that a sparrow does not fall to the ground apart from the Father (Matthew 10:29). Amos asked the question, Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? God is said to command the snow and the rain to fall from the sky (Job 37:6) and the disciples witnessed Jesus calming the wind and the sea with just a word from His mouth (Mark 4:39). According to Proverbs, man may make his plans but God determines the outcome of them (16:1, 9). The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD (v. 33). As powerful as any earthly king may be, he cannot escape God’s sovereign rule over him. The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it where He will (21:1). Ruth “just so happening” to wind up in Boaz’s field (Ruth 2:3) who “just so happened” could serve as a kinsman-redeemer for the family (v. 20) as well as Esther winding up to be queen where she was in a position to save the Jews all point out how sovereign God is over the ordinary everyday situations of our lives. Jonah attempted to run the very opposite direction from where God wanted him to go only to find himself at the exact place doing the exact thing that God had called him to do. In such a case, God’s sovereignty over nature (the great wind, the great storm, and the great fish) created certain situations for His prodigal prophet to bring him to where God deemed he should be in the first place. Life, sickness, and death are all in God’s hands (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6). He is the One who ultimately gives and takes away whatever we have (Job 1:21). God is seen even to be sovereign over man’s sinful decisions, though it is important to note not in a way where He could be said to be responsible for the sin itself but simply in directing man’s wrong choices to His purposed end. The actions of Joseph’s brothers serve as a prime example of this. God allowed them in their sinful hatred and jealousy to sell their brother into slavery only to use that to bring Joseph to a place where he could save his people from dying out in the famine and for God to keep the promise that He had made for the Redeemer to come from the linage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20). And, as much as he must hate it, Satan himself cannot escape God’s control. We discover that in the book of Job where Satan had to have permission to test Job those two times, and even in those cases, God set a boundary for what he could or could not do to the man (Job 1:12; 2:6). The same is indicated with Jesus’ statement to Peter regarding Satan having “demanded permission” to test the disciples (Luke 22:31).
What a comfort it is to know that God is in control of everything that goes on here in this world as well as in our individual lives! Nothing will ever happen to us that He has not wisely ordained. Sure, we may not always understand why He causes or permits certain things to occur but we know that we can trust Him. He is not an arbitrary God but an infinitely wise, just, and good One who has a purpose in everything that happens. Nothing takes place as a result of luck, chance, or random circumstance. It is all part of His perfect plan. I can’t think of any better hands for my life to be in. In fact, the suggestion that anyone or anything other than God could possibly be in control of anything in my life makes me shutter and robs me of hope. If that would be the case, there would be no guarantee that God could bring any good then out of the most difficult situations or circumstances that I may face. But since He is in complete control, I have the confidence that He indeed will keep the promise that He made in Romans 8:28 regarding working all things in my life for the good of my redemption.
It is this truth of God’s sovereignty over everything that helped me get through our two miscarriages. In the midst of the pain and grief, I could rest assured that it was God’s will for us not to keep those two babies and that He must have had a very good and holy reason for that. An older hymn that I clung through in such a time was “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right.” And when my day doesn’t go as I planned (which happens fairly often), rather than getting bitter as I am tempted to do, I can remind myself that it went the way that God wanted it to go which was far better. That also has a great way of calming my anxiety over the things that I thought that I should have done during the day or the places that I should have went. God would have made sure in His sovereignty that those things were done or I was there should He so choose. I can rest in that at the end of my day.
So, the next time that you may find it hard to sleep at night due to everything that is going on in your life and the world around you, be sure to come back to the truth that none of it is outside of the perfect and wise will of our heavenly Father who never makes a mistake. Charles Spurgeon actually described the sovereignty of God as being “the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.” Rest your anxious and weary head on that pillow, saint.
Love in Christ,