God is in Control (Part 2)

Last week, I closed out my thoughts about God’s sovereignty with the truth expressed in Romans 8:28—that in “all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”

If you’re anything like me, you might find the idea that God’s sovereignty encompasses “all things” a bit hard to grasp. Here’s how Chuck Swindoll describes it in his book, The Mystery of God’s Will:

His plan includes all promotions and demotions. His plan can mean both adversity and prosperity, tragedy and calamity, ecstasy and joy. It envelopes illness as much as health, perilous times as much as comfort, safety, prosperity, and ease. His plan is at work when we cannot imagine why, because it is so unpleasant, as much as when the reason is clear and pleasant.

His sovereignty, though it is inscrutable, has dominion over all handicaps, all heartaches, all helpless moments. It is at work through all disappointments, broken dreams, and lingering difficulties. And even when we cannot fully fathom why, He knows.

Even when we cannot explain the reasons, He understands. And when we cannot see the end, He is there, nodding, “Yes, that is My plan.”

All the while, we’re sitting here scratching our heads, wondering what in the world is going on. Our human minds simply cannot comprehend God’s character, His behavior or His activity in our lives (or seeming lack thereof).

Try as we might, we just can’t do it.

This really shouldn’t come as a big surprise, however. The author of Ecclesiastes makes it very clear: “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

And God Himself spells it out in big block letters for us: “ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ ” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Psalm also 115:3 puts it bluntly: “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.”

God answers to nobody. Nothing takes Him by surprise or catches Him unaware. Nor is He not pacing the floor in the throne room, wracking His brain to figure out how in the world He’s going to solve our big problem.

Although He often chooses to use us to accomplish His work, He doesn’t need us for anything. He is the potter, and we are merely the clay (Isaiah 64:8). As such, He chooses the molds and uses whatever techniques He deems necessary to fashion us into the types of vessels He wants us to become.

Last week, we talked about how God gave Satan permission—up to a certain point—to wreak havoc in Job’s life. A righteous man, Job could not figure out why he was being made to suffer so greatly. For 35 chapters, he vacillates between listening to his friends offer their flawed explanations and begging God to show up and explain what’s going on.

God shows up eventually, but He offers no answers. He simply fires away a long series of questions that very effectively put Job in his place (Job 38-41).

God understands our need to know why we’re suffering—He made us, after all. He also understands our desire to know in advance how the story is going to end.

Sometimes He gives us a glimpse of the reasons and perhaps even a clue about the end result. But most of the time, He simply asks us to trust Him. He asks us to believe that He knows how the story ends—that no matter what happens, He will work it out for our ultimate good.

I like to describe this process as “relaxing in God’s sovereignty.”

I know those words don’t naturally go together—relaxation brings to mind peace, tranquility and solace, while sovereignty triggers thoughts of power, control, grandeur and majesty. Yet, what better place to be, than relaxing in the loving arms of the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent Maker of the Universe.

When I’m relaxing in God’s sovereignty, I’m resting in the assurance that God knows what He’s doing.

Even if it doesn’t make one bit of sense to me.

Lois

What better place to be than relaxing in the loving arms of the omnipotent Maker of the Universe. 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 Purposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, #HeartEncourgementThursday and Grace & Truth.



20 Responses to God is in Control (Part 2)

  1. Relaxing in God’s sovereignty is what I am trying to do right now. Thank you for putting it in words!

  2. Dear Lois, this is so powerful. It’s also a tough lesson to learn, and at least for me, I seem to need a refresher course once in a while. Years ago a bus company’s slogan was , “Sit back, and leave the the driving to us.” Sounds like a God thing to me. Have a blessed day, Sweet Friend.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s a great slogan, Alice! I’m with you in needing this refresher course every so often, whether I want it or not. It makes me laugh (or maybe cringe) to look back 15 years or so and remember that I once thought I had mastered this lesson (groan). Yeah … I had no idea! Hugs, friend!

  3. So good, Lois! Trusting in God’s sovereignty one of the hardest tests. But, when we release our need to know and our attempts to “work it out”, we receive something far greater than we can imagine. We truly see His power made perfect in our weakest moments.

  4. I love this encouraging truth! Sometimes it’s so easy to pigeon-hole God into our own version of Him. But He is so much more that we think. He is all, and remembering that truth along with the truth that He is GOOD is a beautiful thing!

  5. Maree Dee says:

    I love your words, “relaxing in God’s sovereignty.” I read through your post twice because it brought such peace to my heart. The verses you included were favorites of mine. I am so glad I stopped by today to read your post.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m glad these words resonated with you and brought you peace, Maree Dee. Thinking about God’s sovereignty does the same thing for me, especially when I am in the middle of a hard time. Blessings to you this week!

  6. I like that definition of trust: relaxing in God’s sovereignty. So many questions we have no answers to on this side of life. Our job is to trust. I’ve been reading Job in the mornings, so it’s made me think about these issues. Appreciate your insight here.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m glad this post corresponded well with what you’re reading in the mornings, Betsy. Don’t you love it when God brings several things across your path that highlight something you’re currently thinking about? I know I do!

  7. Lesley says:

    I love the description of “relaxing in God’s sovereignty.” For me, I think that’s what happens when I stop stressing myself out trying to understand and just rest in the assurance that God knows what he’s doing. It brings a lot of comfort, even when I can’t understand the way God acts or what he allows to happen, to know that he does ultimately have a plan for good.

  8. Lois, you share so many good truths about God’s sovereignty here! One of the biggest things He taught me during our walk through infertility was that “in His sovereignty is His love.” He is not capricious, making us to suffer for no reason. Rather, He loves us, and He knows the plans He has for us. Plans for good. I learned to accept the things He was giving and withholding when I began to accept that He is indeed sovereign.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Amen, Jeanne! I learned very similar lessons during our journey through infertility. I love how you put it … “He is not capricious, making us to suffer for no reason.” So true, and so comforting!

  9. Truth for life, Lois. Thank you. I read through Job again a couple of months ago and it occurred to me that in a sense, Job’s suffering was also an honor. God’s words, “have you considered my servant Job?” weren’t “Get him!!” or “you do the punishing and I’ll watch.” God selected Job to display His glory! And like you pointed out, in the end Job didn’t get answers to all the why’s, but He got to witness and participate in God’s glory in a unique way as he received the answer of God’s sovereignty. Thankful that in our suffering and hardships we also get the gift of awe of His glory.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s a great perspective on Job’s situation, Bethany … I’m glad you added it to this conversation. I’m also glad for the “gift of awe of His glory,” as you describe it, and the opportunities God gives us–whether we see it this way at the time or not–to display His glory.

  10. Oh, Lois, so much truth here. In His sovereignty, He still understands our desire to know and understand…and yet, He asks us to simply trust. He is always good, always loving, always merciful. I need to remember through all-the good, the bad, and the ugly-“He chooses the molds and uses whatever techniques He deems necessary to fashion us into the types of vessels He wants us to become.” Because that will be my best self. Refined by the creator into gold.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      “That will be my best self.” I love how you put that, Debbie. I guessing this hits home with you in a way most people can’t understand, and I am so encouraged by your faith. Praying for you this weekend, my friend.

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