God is in Control (Part 1)

As the summer I wasn’t expecting hurdles to a close, I thought it might be fitting to spend this week and next sharing some thoughts about God’s sovereignty that are as relevant today as they were 15 years ago when I first wrote them.

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When I was in elementary school, one of my Sunday school teachers taught a lesson that made a huge impression on my young mind.

He introduced his students to some pretty lofty principles about God—namely, that He is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.

To this day, I remember what those words mean: that God is everywhere at once (omnipresent), all-knowing (omniscient), and all-powerful (omnipotent). Said differently, God is present everywhere, He knows everything, and He is in control of everything.

That—in a very lofty sounding nutshell—is what God’s sovereignty is all about. The fact that God is sovereign means that nothing happens to me, to you or in the world that does not pass through His hands first.

He is in charge, even when a fatal disease strikes a young mother of four, when a car accident puts a vibrant teenage athlete in a wheelchair, when a loving grandma is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, when disease destroys a woman’s fertility or when an unfaithful spouse refuses to repent.

Many of these horrible things are a direct result of the evil that pervades our fallen world. But somehow—and I make no claim to understanding how or why—not one of them occurs without His permission.

Remember Job, the Old Testament hero who suffered such great loss and yet refused to forsake his faith? Before Satan took away Job’s business, his family and his health, he had to ask God for permission. God gave it, but He also set certain boundaries that Satan was forbidden to cross (Job 1:12; 2:6).

Satan was allowed to wreak havoc on Job’s life for a time, but God was in complete control throughout the process. Job himself acknowledged this near the end of his book: “I know that you can do all things,” he told God, “no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

God sees what we can’t see. He knows what we don’t know. He sees the big picture, while we only know what’s going on in our little world.

While we’re dealing with our day-to-day and possibly life-altering struggles (whatever they might be), He already knows the outcome. He knows when they will end, how they will end, and what will happen next.

And, in some inexplicable way, He’s in charge of the whole process—from start to finish.

This brings to mind Joseph, another Old Testament hero who was able to recognize that God’s purposes had been fulfilled through his suffering. Joseph’s brothers, you may recall, sold him into slavery when he was a teenager.

Years later, Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt. As such, he was responsible for preparing the country for an upcoming famine and for managing the distribution of the stored food during the famine.

He was reunited with his brothers when they came to Egypt in search of grain. Naturally, they were afraid he would seek revenge on them for what they had done to him so long ago. But their fears were unfounded.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives,” Joseph told them (Genesis 50:20).

This story is a great example of God’s amazing ability to “make silk purses out of sows’ ears,” as the saying goes. The Apostle Paul restates this thought in the form of a promise: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

All things means just that. Everything. No exceptions. No exclusions.

But what exactly does that look like in real life? Please join me again next week as we dig into this topic a little bit more.

Lois

God already knows when our trials will end, how they will end, and what will happen next. Click To Tweet

Note: This post is adapted from my book Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey (Harvest House, 2003), available here.

Also: I’m linking up this week with Salt and Light, the RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, #HeartEncourgementThursday and Grace & Truth.



30 Responses to God is in Control (Part 1)

  1. God is so amazing. I’ve been going through a long season of challenges myself, but I am already seeing His hand in all of it – bringing good out of the ashes. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m sorry for the hard season you’ve been in, Tammy, but also encouraged to hear that you are starting to catch a glimpse of how God is bringing good out of the ashes. That definitely helps, doesn’t it? 🙂

  2. He already knows. Period. I don’t know much, but I am glad He does!

  3. Lois, I learned those concepts as a child too, and I’m so thankful I grasped a sense of God’s sovereignty at a young age. I didn’t know you are a published author! Thanks for sharing the link–I’ll refer your books to friends who struggle with infertility.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m thankful for that early understanding too, Sarah … it definitely helped as I went through struggles (like infertility) as a younger adult. And especially now, as I’m trying to teach these concepts to my girls while walking through later-life experiences with my parents. This faith journey never ends, does it? 🙂

  4. It’s so reassuring that God is present everywhere, knows everything and is in control of everything. Although I know this, just reading it like that made it more real. Thanks, Lois.

  5. I love these reminders, friend. His sovereignty can be so vast and hard to understand, but it’s the cornerstone of our faith. He is a just and good God, and He is in control. Blessings to you. xoxo

  6. Hi Lois,
    These reminders of God’s involvement in our lives are what we can hold onto when we come face-to-face with challenges in our lives. And I’m so glad that we have those examples from his word to ponder on, too! xo

  7. Yes, only God knows how things will turn out. We are in the midst of such a situation now. My elderly, precious mother-in-law is (probably) in her last days of dementia, stroke, and CHF. Our prayer is for mercy. But only God knows when and how He will take her home. We continue to remind ourselves, and our children, that God is with her and has a plan for how her passing will accomplish His purposes and bring Him glory–even though we don’t understand. We continue to remind ourselves of (and trust in) His great love for her.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Oh, Dianne … my heart hurts for you and your family. There’s no manual or guidebook for navigating all the emotions and thoughts that go along with watching a loved one move toward the end of her life, is there? Praying with you right now for mercy, and also for God’s peace as you walk this hard, foggy road…

  8. Alyson says:

    So true, Lois. And thought provoking! I don’t claim to understand how or why either, but I’m learning to accept that God has the better view to see what’s best.

  9. Lois, such wise words here. It is hard to understand the sovereignty of God, why He allows certain things into lives, why He doesn’t give things we were designed to desire. But, He is God.

    I was talking with my boys about some of the very things you shared here. Sometimes we simply need to trust, even when we don’t understand. I look forward to reading more.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      These conversations are ongoing around here too, Jeanne. I think you are totally right about the trust part … and that’s the hardest thing of all sometimes, isn’t it? I’ve been praying for you … I hope back-to-school season is going smoothly! 🙂

  10. Lisa notes says:

    Why bad things happen to good people is one of the hardest knots to unravel in our conversations with God. I appreciate your bravery here, Lois! “All things means just that. Everything. No exceptions. No exclusions.” Thanks for sharing this.

  11. Lesley says:

    Thanks for sharing these words, Lois. I love Joseph’s story and how it illustrates God taking what was meant for evil and using it for good. Though God’s sovereignty is a mystery it is so comforting to know that he is ultimately in charge and that he can work good even in our pain.

  12. Love and thankful for the simple truth (and it’s big, loftiness!) Looking forward to next week, Lois!

  13. Definitely words worth resurrecting, and I love how you were captivated by God’s attributes when you were so young. I did a series with my SS kids on God’s incommunicable attributes last year, so I’m encouraged that maybe the truth will impact them as well. And it’s so characteristic of us that we love to think about God’s great power, but then forget all about it when we’re in crisis and try to slide into the driver’s seat!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Michele! I have a feeling your Sunday School kids will remember what you taught them … maybe not in the short-term, but hopefully later when they find themselves in one of those crisis situations you mentioned. 🙂 God bless you for your faithfulness in teaching these truths!

  14. Lois, such great truth here, presented so it’s understandable. I think my favorite part of Job is in chapters 38-39, when God asks Job, “Where were you when I. . .?” “Have you . . . ?” “Can you . . . ?” It is impossible for us to understand God’s ways or purposes, but I know for a fact, even in the most difficult of circumstances (the death of my daughter), God is good, loving, and works all things together for good.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Debby, what a beautiful (though surely hard-fought) proclamation of faith this is! I’m so glad God’s goodness and love have been a source of hope and comfort for you in the years since your daughter died. It makes my heart ache even to think of it … thank you for sharing your thoughts about this, my friend. 🙂

  15. It’s so easy to think that our world is big, that we are the center of this universe and everything that happens is to us, for us, or against us. But God……He is so much bigger. We are a piece (an important, even essential piece) of His beautiful world. Knowing that He sees it all and cares about it all is like the sun caring about a blade of grass on Earth. It’s amazing and beautiful and makes me want to look up every single day. (Except when I forget 😉 )

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s a great way of putting it, Becky … “Like the sun caring about a blade of grass on the earth.” I often forget these truths too, but remembering always brings comfort and hope, doesn’t it?

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