When thinking about our great God and His amazing attributes, I would have to say that His sovereignty is my all-time favorite. One simple and mind-blowing way to describe the sovereignty of God is that He is absolutely in control of all things. For some people, the knowledge that God is in control can bring great comfort, but for others it may bring a great degree of fear. Why is that? Let me present it by rehearsing a story that I once heard from a friend of mine.
My friend stood in the backyard of his apartment watching his young daughter playing happily in the sandbox, located in the courtyard of the complex. When his daughter noticed the neighborhood bully approaching the sandbox, she stood up immediately and began to leave, fearing for her safety. But when she looked up and saw her father standing not far away, she stopped, thought for a second, and then confidently returned to her spot in the sand and resumed playing. You see, she knew there was trouble when she saw the bully, but after seeing her father was there, she knew she would be fine.
The peace that the little girl experienced came because of what she knew to be true about her dad – three things to be exact. First, she knew that the bully was no match for her father. She was confident that her dad could easily control the situation with his strength and authority. Dad was clearly bigger and stronger, and a junior high boy will never be able to convince an adult to back off! But this is not the only thing that gave her rest. She could have just as easily had tremendous fear in facing the bully if she wasn’t sure that her dad knew what to do in a situation like that. He could be the strongest person on the block with the highest authority, but if he didn’t know when to move and how to best wield his power in stopping the bully then his daughter was still very much in danger. Clearly, the girl knew her father was powerful enough and wise enough to handle the situation, and this knowledge helped to quell her fears. However, strength and wisdom are not enough to bring assurance of peace in the face of the girl’s predicament. There is one additional thing that she needs to be assured of in order to sit down confidently in the sandbox and continue without fear. The little girl must know that her father will use his power and wisdom for her good. She must know that her dad loves her and will do everything he can to do what is best for her! Knowing these things to be true of her father she is free to be at peace in the sandbox.
You see, the same is true for us and what we know to be true about our Heavenly Father. When we are facing difficulty at any level we know that God is trustworthy, because He is absolutely in control (sovereign); He is infinite in wisdom; and He is perfect in love. If we know our Father is sovereign and wise, but we are still wary of trusting Him, then we need to know more about His perfect love (Romans 8:35, 37-38; 1 John 4:9-10; Psalm 103:11). If we are confident in God’s love and control but still fearful, then we need to learn more about how He always uses the very best means and timing to effect His most perfect and wise plan for us (Romans 11:33; Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 55:8-9). Oh, brothers and sisters, take comfort in face of the seeming chaos of this world by remembering that our God absolutely and always controls all things to work together in the most perfect way and uses the most excellent means to accomplish the very best good for us, His children. Our God is trustworthy, and we may have peace in the sandbox!
John Piper says, “The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is an anchor for the troubled soul, a hope for the praying heart, a stability for fragile faith, a confidence in pursuing the lost, a guarantee of Christ’s atonement, a high mystery to keep us humble, and a solid ground for all praise.”
Karl Stephens is the Director of Worship Arts.