Recently, a friend of mine who is a bible study coordinator was asked this question by one of his church members and he forwarded it to me for my insight. I was so happy when I read the question. In fact, I had no idea the intention of the enquirer but I believed in my heart that the person really wanted to know why God allow bad things to happen to people and even sometime those whom he "love"?
I was happy because the question pointed me directly to the sovereignty of God. We are living in a time where the attributes of God are not preached and many a churchman have no idea what it means for God to be sovereign. It was not surprising to me why someone in the church, probably a truly born again Christian would ask such a question. But I took it positively. I believed he or she meant it for good and not to blame God for anything.
It is without doubt that this issue centers on one of the main reasons why people reject the existence and love of God. Some atheists, whether practical or not are angry at God because they believe a loving God should not allow someone to suffer. And it's sadly true that majority of churches preach the exact messages in their pulpits. They create the impression of a certain loving God out there who only does "good" to his people and never allow them suffer any pain or loss whatsoever.
It's sometimes even sent to the extreme by saying that if someone suffers loss or pain , Then it must be from the devil. More sadly is the other form which purports that a son of God cannot suffer. I must admit that such words are tickling to the ear but have no life. It's appealing to the fallen nature and it's the gospel of the flesh. Everyone wants to hear this. Who in this world doesn't want to live without pain or sorrow? Who in this world really wants to experience failure? So we should not marvel if these "gospels" are more embraced than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Such gospel has the capacity to fill a whole stadium with people. It can increase the church revenue by thousand fold. It can give the people some temporary assurance. Yes. It is working these days. I am not ignorant of it in my motherland. That's all that we have. A gospel reduced to success, wealth and health. But what does the bible say? What is this gospel of Jesus Christ? What does it promise mankind ? Can the sovereignty of God be reconciled with pain and suffering? It's because of these questions that I am writing this article to you with the intention of giving you an apology of what I believe must be agreed by all Christians.
Now let's consider the sovereignty of God. This is sadly one of the doctrines the modern church has buried underground. It is not known by majority of Christians. But it is of utmost importance for proper understanding of the gospel. Amongst the many plain verses that poo ints to the sovereignty of God, I would like to point you to the book of 1 Samuel chapter 2;6-7.
1 Samuel 2:6-7 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
From this verse, we see the sovereignty of God placard in every statement. It is the Lord who does both the negative and the positive. He kills , he gives life. He makes poor and he makes rich. Yes it is YAHWEH who does these. He has the power over everyone. The life of the mighty men of this world are in his hands. He can change their minds with a snap. And when he does any of these, he doesn't take counsel from men. His wisdom is unfathomable. The depth of his plan is beyond reach.
What do we do when we read such a verse from the bible? We bow down and worship God. We worship him for his sovereignty. He must be above all in order to be God. He must not take counsel from men. He must do whatever he wants. He is not like man that he should be restricted. He has no authority to submit to. And whether it sounds good to us or not , that's the message. So there is no explanation to the sovereignty of God. I can't convince you to believe his sovereignty,but I will plead with you to submit.
Imagine if God is not sovereign over everyone and everything he created , How would he save men from their sins? If God had inquired of men whether to save them or Not, don't you think some would reject him?haven't you read that "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way" ,Isaiah 53:6? Do you think men wanted salvation? How did they treat the Savior? Didn't they crucify him in an attempt to nullify the plans of God?
But despite all these oppositions, God was sovereign over them all. He used their opposition for his own purpose. They thought the were killing the only Son of God. But they didn't know that their hands were being moved by the Almighty to slaughter His own Lamb for their sins. "Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief," Isaiah 53:10.
Lets Think about Joseph. What was the plan of his wicked brothers? They wanted him dead. The meant him harm. But the sovereign Lord, through all these difficulties was planning a great salvation for Joseph himself and his family including his jealous brothers.
Consider the man "whom Jesus loved", Lazarus. Jesus had been informed about the illness of a loved one. Jesus knew how dangerous the sickness would be if he doesn't go there in time. Yet he allowed Lazarus to die. What! I can't imagine the words most people would say about Jesus. "How could he allow a loved person to die although he could heal him?" Others would even stop believing him. They thought that they control God rather. So they can switch God to do anything outside his perfect will. "Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." John 11:14-15.
I would like to end this article by putting before you the reason why we should embrace the sovereignty of God. As we have read above, the Lord intentionally allowed Lazarus to die so that he could use that as a means to make people believe. We must embrace the sovereignty of God because in it our Lord is glorified. Therefore whatever that seems wrong in our eyes, those things that make us feel there is no hope , those failures and insecurities contain the hidden plan of God. Haven't you read Romans 8:28? "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Job lost everything. God allowed the devil to torment him. He lost his family and properties. He loved to die more than to live. But eventually God did something exceedingly abundant beyond what he had. If you're a follower of Christ, a child of God and things are not going on well, it doesn't mean that God has abandoned you. It means that God is at work. All these difficulties will work together for good. And it doesn't end there -"But to those that love him". If you love God and have submitted to him, he will surely order your steps on the right path. Fear not. Submit your ways to his sovereignty and he won't fail you.
"Psalms 25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths".
It has been a while since I got in touch.
I hope you have been helped by this article. Leave you comments below. Have a nice day.
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