When calamity strikes you personally, the idea that God is in control can be both threatening and consoling. If you are like me, it is at first threatening. When my son died suddenly, I had no doubt that God was in control. I believed that God either caused or permitted everything that happened. But the fact that God was in control did nothing to comfort me--at least not at first. Instead all the why questions came flooding in:
Certainly these were possibilities I needed to explore. However, I eventually realized that God could bring calamity into my life for many different reasons. So after a while, I gave up on getting answers to the why questions and took hold of a different kind of query--I began asking the who questions.
- Was God punishing my son?
- Was God punishing me?
As I studied the scriptures, I realized that if God is truly in control, none of my afflictions are wasted. Rather, these afflictions are part of God's design for accomplishing His purposes, both in my life and in the lives of people around me. Once I realized this, the sovereignty of God in my afflictions went from being a threatening thought to a consoling thought. Surely if God knows the number of the hairs on my head, he knows every affliction. (see Luke 12:7) He controls its timing, its duration, and its extent. For this reason, I commit all the events in my life, from the most tragic to the most insignificant, to the wisdom and love of God, affirming that all He does is right and good and holy. With this in mind, I commend to you the following articles:
- Who said that he brings trials into our lives in order to build our character? God did. "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4, HCSB).
- Who said that all things will work together for the good of those who know and love God? God did. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, KJV).
- Who said that he uses trials to strengthen and refine our faith? God did. "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7, KJV).
- Who said that he uses the difficulties that he brings into our lives to equip us to comfort others? God did. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Cor 1:3-4, KJV).
- The Sovereignty of God and the Comfort of Believers, By John MacDuff
This article describes how the sovereignty of God can comfort the afflicted believer.
- If God is Sovereign, Why Do Anything? By Matt Perman
This article describes how God is sovereign, even in the most wicked acts of men.
- Of the Providence of God, By Thomas Boston
This is a commentary on the Westminster Confession where it deals with providence and discussed the way God upholds and controls all things.
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