Main idea: Be quick to waive your rights for the privilege of proclaiming the gospel StatusJohn 13:12-15Natural RightsScriptural RightsMinistry RightsEarthly Rewards...
“This is the will of God for me, and I will worship Him in it.” Sheila uttered these words through painful tears as she lost her husband Malcolm at the age of 33 after a three-month bout with cancer. That was 47 years ago. Her confidence in God still rings true in my mind and heart. Sheila experienced the goodness and presence of God because she believed in the sovereignty of God.
I had been reflecting prayerfully for several weeks on a theme for this writing. Then I took a fall with a ladder while painting a house. The two-second ride from 12 feet landed me on my elbow… pain, momentary shock, a dislocated elbow, facial lacerations, and a bruised left leg. By the grace of God, I did not go with the ladder down the basement stairs which would have likely occasioned multiple injuries. By the grace of God, my son Bradley was with me that day. By the grace of God, he was able to drive me to the ER where I received pain relieving attention. By the grace of God, I am on the mend. Within a day, I knew the theme that God had determined for this writing… the sovereignty of God.
“From Genesis to Revelation, we see the sovereignty of God described and displayed.”
From Genesis to Revelation, we see the sovereignty of God described and displayed. He acted sovereignly in creation. He acted sovereignly in leading His nation through their Old Testament journey. He acted sovereignly in orchestrating the events and setting for the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross to provide for our salvation. He is acting sovereignly in our lives to bring us to the knowledge of the Truth. He is acting sovereignly to remind us that “all things do in fact work together for our good”.
Most of us do not seek or request difficult situations. However this is part of our human frailty and a consequence of our fall in the garden. Our bodies do succumb to illness. Our economic efforts do turn sour. Our relationships do deteriorate. All of these can occasion pain and suffering. We can cry out, “Why me?” We can turn inward and seethe with resentment. We can lash out at God with complaint and at others with harshness. Or we can take our anguish to God, and confidently say, “This is the will of God for me, and I will worship Him in it.”
Correct theology (knowing God as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us through Scripture) leads us to correct thinking. When we think correctly, we can trust correctly, and by God’s grace we are prompted to act correctly. Oh I fully know that the results of a fall or any life trauma can be painful, discouraging, and debilitating. Life became very raw for Joseph after he was betrayed by his brothers. Life became very agonizing for David when Saul unleashed his wrath against David. Life became hopeless for the followers of Jesus as they trudged away from Calvary. And yet God, the sovereign, all powerful, and loving Father was totally in control. These and many others have confidently echoed the words of the songwriter, “The God of the good times is still God of the bad times; the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.” As we trust our sovereign God, we will see our sovereign God displaying His glory for our good.
Several years ago, I met Nicola, an Italian man, at a hospital in Tenerife. Life had become hopeless for him. While working at a restaurant, he fell and broke his hip. His boss let him go. With no resources, he lived on the street, became desperately ill, and was found by some people who took him to the hospital, where he received the diagnosis of stomach cancer. Because of some previous jail experience in another country, he was in Tenerife on falsified documents. The hospital personnel became aware of this, mercifully operated on the cancer, but would not treat his hip problem. Not being able to walk without crutches, he could not find work. This is where God sovereignly allowed our lives to intersect. We shared the gospel with him many times, showed the compassion of Jesus to him, and saw him surrender to Jesus. His desire to put the dishonest living of the past in order has evidenced his genuine conversion. Through many conversations as we shared coffee, God has privileged me with explaining the truth about God and the hope of the gospel with this weary and downcast traveler. Not once have I promised relief from his ongoing life difficulties. I have promised him the presence of God in this life and the end of all suffering when we see Jesus.
So with this little ladder fall, God has given me renewed hope in His sovereignty. As we trust Him, we will see His sovereign control over all things. His sovereignty includes things as simple as the themes for the articles in the FBC Weekly. Here is a review of several recent themes. The hymns that we sing ground us in rock solid truth about our sovereign God. The divine-human covenants show us the architectural integrity of our sovereign God’s redemptive plan. Lydia’s poem lifts our weary souls to look expectantly to that day when we will stand face to face with our sovereign Lord, knowing that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” And Kelly’s “waiting through winter” gives us courage and hope to wait confidently for that great day when our sovereign Savior will wipe away every tear.
Yes, we can in fact trust Him and believe. I can in fact trust the life reality of today as His will for me, and worship Him in it.