God moves in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm
by William Cowper (1731-1800)
sov·er·eign – One that exercises supreme, permanent authority.
That is GOD! Failing to understand this characteristic of God handicaps our ability as believers to make sense our lives in light of Romans 8:28 which says:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
The sovereignty of God is a doctrine that has been widely discussed and debated, particularly as it pertains to salvation. However, my focus is the sovereignty of GOD in sanctification, especially in suffering. How does one make sense of the goodness of God through suffering, pain or affliction? How is one comforted? Think about the afflictions Job suffered. Yet he managed to confidently say,
“the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD…. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”
(Job 1:21b, 2:10b)
How can Job say, “blessed be the name of the LORD” after all of his children, belongings and health had been severely stricken? He saw Him who is invisible.
Our verse in Romans 8 says all things work together for good, not all things are good. All things – blessings and ‘misfortunes’ alike are filtered through the sovereign hand of God for one end, that you “be conformed to the image of His Son,…” (Romans 8:29). Lay hold of this unchangeable fact! God in His omniscience knows perfectly how to sanctify us for His predetermined purpose to make us holy and blameless in His sight. He strips us of things or people that hinder our maturation, allegiance and fellowship with Him. Many times we are ignorant of the toxins in our lives and He lovingly removes them for our good and the good of others. Sometimes He uproots us and replants us in other places that will bring about the best fruit in our lives. Vinedressers prune the vine’s branches for more fruit and health maintenance.
Consider the sovereignty of God in the agonizing crucifixion of our Savior Jesus Christ. From the natural eye, it was cruel, unjust and unwarranted for the Innocent to be executed. From heaven’s perspective, Peter boldly claims,
“This man [Jesus Christ] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
And Isaiah 53:10 says,
“Yet it pleased the LORD(Yahovah) to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.”
For what purpose? For this.
“He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
What seems as something terrible is often God’s magnificent plan unfolding! We must come to a place to count it worthy to accept the suffering God allows so He can be glorified and we can be changed by it. Our comfort through the suffering rests in the fact that God is sovereign, able to sustain us and see us through it.
“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…”