When Ed, my old neighbour from Saskatchewan called last week, he wanted to know what I was doing. I told him that I was studying the sovereignty of God. He was quick to say that he thought God was no longer sovereign over many or much. I suggested that it is a matter of perception. Maybe folks forget about God unless they want to ask a favour of Him or blame Him. God is in control, but that doesn't stop us from wanting absolute power for ourselves. We tend to have control issues wanting things done our way, which we think is the only right way there is.
I told Ed that it is from the Bible that we say that God is in control or sovereign, as rightful ruler over everything and everyone in the universe. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. God is, above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 21:6)
God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible. (1 Colossians 1:16) There is no limit to the knowledge of God. (Romans 11:33) God knows all things past, present, and future. God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult or impossible for him to perform. (Jeremiah 32:17)
God is sovereign the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. God is supreme and worthy of our awe and honor. Ed said that I made God sound like a dictator as one who rules the way he wants. I said there is an element of truth of God being absolute and unrestricted in his authority. Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. (Psalm 115:3)
Earthly dictators and elected rulers may abuse their power and terrorize their citizens: but God rules the universe and our personal lives, with His love that wants what is best for us and for all. His love for us is balanced with his love for others. He rules in love. His word promises that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
Ed said to me, “If you are going to preach on the sovereignty of God, it isn’t going to go well because people resent bosses, those that are in control. People want to be their own bosses and their own authority. People want to exercise their free will. People want to have their own way, make their own choices, whether good or bad.”
I agreed with Ed that many people stumble over the idea that God is in total control. They get angry that a sovereign God doesn’t eliminate all evil and suffering. They refuse to believe that God can bring good out of evil and suffering. They want a God that they can explain entirely according to their own terms.
Evil and suffering are part of our human condition, we make wrong choices and sin. Sin is met with the goodness and love of our sovereign God. In the brokenness of suffering and evil from sin, Jesus provides help, hope, and the power to turn our bad choices around to His praise.