One of the things I have struggled with for most of my life is the concept of a sovereign God. How can a God that has supreme power and authority over not only all of the earth but heaven and hell as well, allow terrible things to happen to people? That sounds like a god that has no emotion or compassion for people, no matter who they are. Any god that allows death and hell to remain for a single day under his watch cannot possibly be a good or loving god whatsoever.
I have seen many terrible things happen in my lifetime. I have been through unspeakable pain and torture. Yet I have also seen the face of Jesus Christ and have felt His love and grace wash over me, bringing me inexplicable joy. How can so much love and grace come from a God that allowed so much pain and torture? I have wrestled with this question, time and time again, and have come to one conclusion.
God does not allow pain and suffering in this world. Humans do. Man made his free will choice to partner with the devil in the Garden of Eden. He decided then that the sovereignty of God was not enough, that instead, it would be better to be like gods. Ever since that day, we have been chasing after every way possible to align ourselves with the gods of this world in order to seek our own destiny and the power and authority to control it.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
How many times have you thought how much better someone else’s life would be if you could make the decision for them? Or how much better the world would be if you were president? How many times have you inadvertently taken the decision out of someone else’s hands because you pushed your decisions on them? Or sought to control your own life by asserting your own will over what you desire to happen?
These are only a few of the many ways we daily try to take over the throne of God, exalting ourselves into His place instead. It seems no consequential matter to make so many decisions on behalf of ourselves and those we are responsible for, through reason, logic, and emotion. Yet when we decide what to do each day, or try to steer the course of our lives, we are trying to take the wheel from God and put Him in the passenger seat.
If we as a people continue to turn towards false idols and the gods of this world, chasing after them with unbridled passion, then how can we continue to blame God for every wrong turn we take or even for every disaster that strikes this world? Why is it that God is always to blame for what is wrong or bad when the Bible proclaims there is no darkness in Him?
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Could it be that God is neither punishing us nor sitting back and allowing terrible things to happen? Could it be that God in His sovereignty has given us the free will to choose whom we will serve, and we have already cast our lots? I know this is a hard thing for many Christians to hear, but if we as the body of Christ cannot hear that we are living in idolatry, then how can we ever help bring those around us into repentance to Christ as well?
We have grown up like children living in Babylon. Our families were exiled because of the choices of our people and raised us to the best of their abilities in a foreign land. There are altars and high places and temples to Baal and Asherah at every turn, and we are fraternizing with the enemy and marrying into families of idolaters. Yet because we have become so accustomed to living in Babylon and have never even seen the Promised Land of old, we have no idea that we are in great err against God’s holiness.
We look around and ask “why do bad things happen to good people?” but who are we to define good? No one is good except God alone. We all fall short of His glory and have sinned against God, yet we dare to believe that through our good deeds and works we can earn righteousness and His favor. We dare to challenge God and question Him when we believe He hasn’t responded to us appropriately or has failed to protect us, but like Job, we all must come to a place of understanding God’s sovereignty.
Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world. Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Coming to terms with God’s sovereignty means coming to terms with our own human condition. We have failed time and time to keep up our end of God’s sacred covenant, and yet He still loves us and takes care of us. God does not allow bad things to happen, He allows our free will choices. And the truth of that is, God honestly protects us from many more disasters and mistakes in this world than we can even realize.
Where we think God has failed, God has really provided, we just don’t understand God and how He moves. If we could open up heaven and see everything God does, we would be astounded by the miracles of grace He performs daily. We think a disaster that should have been stopped by God means He is bad, but even in that disaster God was working miracles. God works things for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes that means bringing people home to heaven before we think He should.
The more we try to wrestle with a sovereign God, the more we will continue to journey back to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, trying with each bite to gain the knowledge and understanding we were never meant to have. Who can know the will of God? Who can understand the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth? Will the created ask of the Creator, why did you form me this way?
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
Our continued desire to know and understand these hidden secrets is what has driven us to pagan idolatry in the first place. We chase after knowledge as if it brings us freedom when true freedom comes only from humility and submission to the Lord. We do not get to be the judge and jury over the Lord of Hosts, and yet we deem ourselves fit to try to drag him into the courtroom, day after day.
In our human minds, we believe God has failed us in so many ways. He has failed to create a safe world where there is no suffering or pain or death, when in fact, that is exactly what He gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Yet man was not content with paradise alone and contended with God for a place on His holy council. We rejected paradise and His sovereignty, and have rebelled against His protection and provision century after century.
It is not God who has failed us, but we as His people who have failed Him. Generation after generation we have fallen on our knees in worship of other gods, giving ourselves over as we chase down these false idols. Facebook, Instagram, Selfies, cell phones, television, famous personalities, worship bands, pastors, speakers, church, power, money, control. All these have been our gods, and all these are linked to real gods, who are pulling us into their false powers.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
On the contrary to our beliefs, God has actually been protecting us in unseen and unnoticed ways. He is the unsung hero of our stories, as He rescues us time and time again. Least we forget that Jesus already bore all of our sins on the cross to take the high price we deserved. He not only took our sins but the sins of every living person around us. We think that because we feel suffering in this world God has failed when in reality, we only feel a small percentage of that suffering because Jesus bears our burdens for us.
Jesus take the weight of our sin so we don’t have too, and will continue to do so until the Last Day. We deserve the consequences of sin, and yet Jesus took them all. Our job is now to continue to forge a path to freedom He died to give us. We take for granted that freedom and believe that we have done enough by accepting His salvation, when the truth is, trusting in Jesus is only the first step in a long journey of freedom.
Freedom comes at a high price for us. Humility and repentance. We must humble ourselves to the point of dying to our own fears, shame, and pride so we can allow Jesus to expose the hidden sin within the deep recesses of our souls. We each have them and as long as we continue to ignore them, we will continue to blame God for all of our problems and not the true culprit; Satan.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
As I continue my journey of inner healing I have conclusively come to one thing: God has not allowed me to suffer. He has not given me over to my sin or allowed harm to come my way. God has allowed the free will of man, yes, but He also stood in the gap and took on the burden of every evil and humiliating act that happened to me, becoming the living sacrifice so I didn’t have too.
He has gone to great lengths to protect me and strengthen me because otherwise, I would be dead. The occult meant for my destruction, but my God meant that I would have life, and have it in abundance. Did I suffer for no reason? Did I bear such enormous burdens so I could just barely make it through life? No. I chose to suffer for the sake of my God because He is worth it all. And I would choose this life all over again if it meant I could save one other person in the process.
We all must come to terms with God’s sovereignty on our own. We must wrestle with God the way Jacob did, so we can understand who He truly is. We must allow His Spirit to bear witness to this truth, and bring us into alignment with His will. He is a good Father who loves us. All of us. There is nothing in this world that can separate us from His love, and He will always move mountains to bring us back into His arms. It is just who He is.
I pray each one of you is blessed with the richness and fullness of God’s love, freely flowing through your innermost being like a mighty river until you come to an understanding of what true sovereignty means.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.