When we are going through difficult experiences we often come to the point where we think that God has “lost the plot” somehow. We wonder if He knows where we find ourselves right now and if He is still in control. We often have a sense of being abandoned, being alone, not understanding what God is doing, and we are afraid. Afraid of what will happen, what is happening, what may happen and what may be lost in the coming days. Fear is real.
When we feel like this, is the exact moment when we are to seek out God’s presence, coming away from the world, going into our room, closing the door and being quiet before Him. While we are there, one of the things we have to do, is train ourselves once again in God’s sovereignty. Yes train, because we forget. Train: since it implies our mind, our attitude and belief and thereby our actions. We tend to waver between our experience of His sovereignty and our need to convince ourselves anew that He is sovereign, so therefore we need to train ourselves to make God bigger than our circumstances, our feelings, our perspective, our experiences etc.
Here are five things we need to remind ourselves about:
- God works all things according to his will. God has no surprise moments where He says, “Oh, I didn’t know that was happening!” or “I didn’t know it was going to turn out like that!” Instead, scripture tells us that all things happens under the authority of His will. Ephesians 1:11: “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
God governs all human plans and acts. Humans think they determine all things and that they control their destiny, but God governs not just what we are doing, but also what we will be doing. He governs it, in that He is the final authority of all that humans plan and act. Here is how it works:
- Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” A general statement in that as we go, God establishes us in the way we should go.
- Then in Proverbs 20:24 it reads, “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?” God makes it that ALL out steps fall under his control and authority. Even what we call our wrong steps and mistakes, even these, fall under His authority.
- Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” We human beings think that chance, luck and co-incidence play a role in our lives, but whatever happens, it is going to be God’s will in the end. His destiny is the destiny planned for us, chance and dice, or even gambling does not determine our future. Every decision is from the Lord.
- Proverbs 19:21“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Whatever humans anywhere in the world are planning and doing, what will be established is God’s will. Our governments and politicians may think they control where the world is going, or that their plans are coming about, but nothing happens outside of God’s will.
- Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” We don’t have the ability of knowledge to take all things into consideration when we plan the steps of our life, but God does. He is more than able to control everything to submit to His will.
We can safely assume that whatever happens, God is behind it. Lamentations 3:37: “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?” In other words, the only explanation the biblical writer could see behind anything being commanded, is that the Lord ultimately brought it to pass. Joseph at the end of his life experience, speaks of this when he could say to his brothers “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” After more than 40 years away from his family, Joseph could see God’s purpose in it all.
God’s sovereignty even governs all daily events. We may think we control what we do from day to day, but nothing happens outside of His will, there are no surprises to God about what happens in our day. James 4:13-15: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
Even in situations where God is permitting certain things to happen, he is permitting it by His design. When you permit something and you know what it’s going to do and you know all of its outcomes and you go ahead and permit it, you permit it wisely. If you’re God, with perfect wisdom, it all wisely fits into the overall pattern of what you are planning and doing. It all fits into Your design.
Father, what confidence we can have in your sovereign power Lord. We can safely pray: “Thy will be done” because scripture tells us that nothing happens outside of Your will. Thank you that I can know that none of my actions, or luck, or chance, or co-incidence can cause things to happen outside of Your will. You are always in control, and will bring Your purpose and plans about in ALL things. We can confess that we truly, “live and move and have our being” in You Lord.