The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)
On one level we understand and accept that it is God’s prerogative govern, to control that which He has created; to rule and reign, to do as He purposes, according to His good and wise and holy ways.
The Psalmist says, The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth (Psalm 135:6). We understand that if God is not in control, if He is not sustaining this world, it would cease to exist; we affirm He is all-powerful and all-wise, the Almighty. And we take great encouragement in knowing our God is taking care of this world; that there is One who is in control.
But on another level, the truth of God’s sovereignty raises question and at times troubles us, particularly as we wrestle with the consequences of living in a fallen world; the presence of evil, the tragedies and atrocities and injustices we see all around us. We struggle at times, because we wonder, how can a loving, caring God allow these things to happen. We struggle when we cannot find answers to the troubling aspects of our own lives.
I remember standing in the emergency room as the doctor spoke to the parents of a 4-year-old: “I’m sorry, we did all we could”. How do explain the love of God in that setting? How do you explain God’s rule of this world to the mother of a 24-year-old who was found murdered? How was I going to help his friends make sense of all this at a memorial service a few days later?
Even those of us who walk by faith find it hard at times to trust the One we know to be sovereign, especially when the circumstances of our lives are hard to understand why these hard things come into our lives. I remember wrestling with God in prayer when our son spent 21 days at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. I remember how painful it was to tell my sister that our dad had taken his own life; I will never forget the look of sadness on her face. I’ve seen that look too many times at the bedside or graveside and I understand how deeply we feel the tension of seeking to hold on in faith while sometimes wondering why did this have to happen?
I suppose this side of heaven, we will never find a completely satisfactory answer to the deep and troubling aspects of life. But if I hold on to the truth that God is still on His throne, that He is the Sovereign Ruler of this world and my life, then I can find peace and security in a sometimes dark and scary world; even if my questions remain unanswered.
Because I know God is the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of all, that the One who upholds the universe, holds me in the palm of His hand, the One who guides the stars, also guides my life, I can put my trust in Him. What’s the alternative? If God is not in control, who is?
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge. (Psalm 73:28)
My eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge. (Psalm 141:8)