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Friday, October 23, 2015

What Does That Get You?

I am a firm believer in the Sovereignty of God. I believe that "God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28) I believe that "none can stay His hand or say to Him, 'What have you done?'" (Dan 4:35) I am convinced that "He does all that He pleases." (Psa 115:3) I am sure that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father (Matt 10:31). I have confidence that He is "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords." (1 Tim 6:15) Why? Well ... because that's what I see in Scripture (and in far more places than I just listed).

To be honest, however, it is much bigger than that. You see, we live in an uncertain world. I don't say that because of the times or culture in which we live. I say that because it has always been thus. You never know when a tree will fall on you or a storm wipe you out or some lunatic driver will run you off the road or cancer will threaten your existence ... to make a small start at a nearly infinite list. You never know. In this uncertain world, then, you have to have a lever, some means of maintaining sanity. Maybe it's insurance or avoidance (which itself sometimes borders on insanity). Very popular is the "see no evil" approach with that elephant in the room. "If I don't look, it can't touch me." But all these strategies seem to fall short. For me it's God's Sovereignty.

What does that get me? It doesn't guarantee a happy life. It doesn't insure me against unpleasant things. I doesn't make sure I won't get mistreated or sick or fired or whatever other bad things might happen. So ... what does it get me? If it doesn't guarantee a comfortable, pleasant life, why is it a good thing?

I believe, like the hymn says, "Jesus doeth all things well." If I believe that God is genuinely Sovereign over all things and that God is genuinely good, I can have complete confidence that the tough times I face in life are just as good as the pleasant things that I experience. I can be equally sure that the death in the family is God's good will just as much as an offer of a better job or the birth of a grandchild. I can rejoice always (1 Thess 5:16). I can pray with confidence (1 Thess 5:17). I can actually give thanks in every circumstance (1 Thess 5:18). Seriously, if God is for me, who can be against me?

Others with their "almost sovereign" God baffle me. When "bad things" happen, they're stuck with "Oh, God didn't plan that; it's the world or the devil or just an accident or ..." And I cannot fathom how that is a positive. I don't derive comfort from "God didn't plan that". I wouldn't be able to maintain very well in a "hands-off God" world.

What does it get me to believe in an Absolute Sovereign God? Well, on one hand it allows me to point to Scripture and say, "That's what I see there." I like it when I can say that what I believe is what I see in God's Word. On the other hand, pleasant or unpleasant, I can have complete confidence that nothing but good will be allowed to happen in my life. Therefore, I can rejoice in whatever may befall. Sanity. That's what it gets me. That's a good thing.


Bob said...

i noticed that when i suffer depression it is because of the short view.
when we are focused on the short view, we cant help being swallowed up by the immediate circumstances. the short view also causes us to be overly concerned about the future. what will happen, will i have enough to retire, i am afraid of getting old. and then we die,,,
but understanding the sovereignty of God causes us to get the long view. this life is but a short moment compared to the life in eternity. God is in charge now and will always provide for those that love him, forever. we can rest in our difficulties because He in still on the throne.

Craig said...

I would suggest that a lack of respect for God's Sovereignty is also what lies beneath the denial of Biblical authority/historicity. To me it seems reasonable that a sovereign God who created everything and controls everything should have absolutely no problem in communicating exactly the message and information He intends while working through humans to accomplish that goal. In light of all of the other claims creation and resurrection to name two, superintending the writing and compilation of the scripture seems like it would be pretty simple for Him to make happen.

Stan said...

I'm fairly confident that, if we thought it through, we'd find that a large number of people, including Christians -- even genuine ones -- have a deist worldview. God is more "hands off". Hands of the Bible. Hands off nature. Hands off bad things that happen. That's why it's so amazing when He gets anything done.

Craig said...

I think your probably right about that one. So much stems from a persons view of God's sovereignty and authority that if you get that wrong then so much else is wrong as well.