Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to love the Sovereignty of God

Believing in God's sovereignty means believing that God is in complete control. That in his most holy, wise and powerful way he is preserving and governing ALL his creatures, and ALL their actions.

Most of the time, God's providence is mysterious. God is certainly under no compulsion to tell us why he is doing things the way he is. But occasionally we are able to look back and see just one or two of the possible reasons why God did things a certain way. And when we can, it is very encouraging. Most of the time, when bad things happen we simply have to trust the God has our good in mind, even though we can only see bad.

I bring this up, because when Ken and I were in NC two weeks ago, Ken pointed out that I had several stories of being able to look back and see good in what had originally been very difficult circumstances. I need to remind myself of these things during the other 99% of the time when God's providence remains mysterious.

Two stories are similar. Both in Charleston in '05 and in Greenwood in '07 I applied for pastoral jobs which I thought would be perfect fits for me. I was excited about both of them, and thought I had a good chance at being hired for each of them. I was wrong about both of them. And both times, especially the first time, I was extremely disappointed not to get the job. However, it is also true that I now look back at each job and am very thankful that I didn't get them. Both jobs would have been bad fits for me. And in both cases the person who did get the job became a good friend.

I'm thankful to be able to look back on these situations, and realize that although at the time I saw God's providence as only bleak, I can now see what he was protecting me from. And I'm particularly thankful that I now have a job that I love, even though I never saw it coming!

A few concrete examples from my own life can go a long ways in encouraging me when only bad things seem to be happening. I know that someday I'll be able to look back and see the good that God had in mind. It might happen in a few years, or more likely, not until heaven. But either way I am encouraged to love the doctrine of God's sovereign providence, not only in theory, but also in practice.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Very encouraging, Jeff.

I think that new Christians need to know this in Advance. They may wrestle with doubt and discouragement at times, but over time they are going to build up a reservoir of stories that will undergird them.