Is God in control? That is a question that has puzzled many down through the ages. Some believe that God created the universe and then turned it loose to run on its own; while others believe that God controls every minute detail. The Bible teaches us in Acts 17:28 that we “live and move and have our being in God.” Colossians 1:17 tells us, “He (Jesus) existed before anything else, and he (Jesus) holds all creation together.” Creation could not exist if not for the constant care and intervention of its Creator.
A word that is often used to help describe God’s control over His creation is the word ‘sovereignty.’ Sovereignty means at least three things:
God’s Supreme Excellence
God’s Supreme Power
God’s Supreme Control
Most of us have little trouble in believing in God’s supreme excellence and power. We read from the book of Revelation: “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” (Revelation 4:11) We believe in God’s supreme excellence and power, yet we struggle with His supreme control.
The Bible says that during his day, there was no man who strived more to please God than the man called Job. Yet we also know from his story, that during his day, no man had to suffer more. I suppose that we could also say that no man struggled more with trying to understand why. Job’s struggle involved a question many have asked, “Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?”
I cannot answer that question, nor can I fully explain the book of Job. Yet in my studies of scripture, I have drawn some conclusions that have helped me to understand a little bit more about the sovereignty of God. We read from the book of Romans:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
The Bible doesn’t say that everything is good. The Bible says that God is able to make all things work together for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose for them. The question therefore we might ask is – “What is God’s purpose for suffering? What is the good He wants me to experience?” We read in the next verse – “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:29)
Perhaps the greatest good God is trying to accomplish is our conformity to the image of His Son. God wants to make us more like Jesus and one of the ways He does this is by allowing us to suffer. Join me again tomorrow as we continue our study.