Believe that God is in control; trusting him will bring you peace
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Is God really in control of everything that happens? Not everyone thinks so.
Twenty-five years ago the author of the popular book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” suggested that bad things happen because God is not really in control of everything. Because God is not omnipotent, he is powerless to stop bad things from happening, things such as natural disasters and tragic accidents.
But is this what the Bible teaches? The Scriptures seem to teach quite the opposite, portraying a God in complete control of everything.
For example, God says in Isaiah 46:9-10, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.'”
In Matthew 10:29, Jesus says, “No sparrow falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.” Put another way: No sparrow dies apart from the Heavenly Father’s complete control and divine permission.
The Apostle Paul, writing in Colossians 1:17, describes God as “before all things,” adding: “In Him all things hold together.” The sovereign God of the universe superintends over his creation and is in total control of all he has created.
Of course, there is much mystery here. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” Only God knows his perfect plan and why at times he allows bad things to happen and at other times intervenes to stop them.
Christians “walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).” They trust in God’s character, that “the judge of all the earth always does right (Genesis 18:25)” and that he often works in ways we cannot yet understand.
Chicago lawyer Horatio Spafford understood this truth. Having already lost a son, Spafford later suffered more loss in the Chicago fire of 1871. Two years later, he tragically lost his four daughters in a terrible accident at sea. Yet it was Spafford who gave us the great hymn, “It is Well with My Soul,” written not long after the death of his daughters. He writes:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Spafford could not explain why God allowed such great loss, but he knew that God was in control and trusted him. Such peace comes as a result of receiving God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Spafford’s third verse holds the key:
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and trust that the supreme judge of all the earth always does what is right.
The Rev. Todd Linn is pastor of First Baptist Church in Henderson, Ky.