Living in a God-Governed World
Jerry Bridges writes in Trusting God;
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised. (Psalm 113:3)
Going beyond our own personal circumstances, God‘s infinite wisdom- directing his sovereign power- governs the world. As we look around us, it seems that much of the world is outside God’s control and much of what happens makes no sense. But if we accept that God is sovereign, we must conclude that He is in control of all circumstances and is guiding them with His infinite wisdom to their appointed purpose. They are not just an assortment of uncontrolled and unrelated events. Rather, they are all part of God‘s perfect pattern and plan, which will one day be shown to be both for his glory and the good of His church. We must learn the quiet hearts in regard to God‘s government of the universe. We must come to the place where we can say, in the words of David, “I have calmed and quieted my soul” (Psalm 131:2) about all the tragedies that come on mankind around the world.
Yet this doesn’t mean we’re to become indifferent and callous to the amount of suffering that goes on around the world. We should pray for the victims of tragedies and where opportunity permits, respond tangibly to the relief of their sufferings. But we can be compassionate without questioning God about his government of the world.
It is not only an irreverent act to question God’s wisdom, but it is also spiritually debilitating. We not only besmirch God’s glory, but we also deprive ourselves of the comfort and peace that come by simply trusting Him without requiring an explanation. An unreserved trust of God, when we don’t understand what is happening or why, is the only road to peace and comfort and joy. God wants us to honor Him by trusting Him, but He also desires that we experience the peace and joy that come as a result.
One day Jesus and the disciples met a blind man. The disciples immediately asked Jesus why the man was blind. “Was it”, they asked, “ a result of his sin or his parent’s sin?” Like us they were focused on the whys of life. Often we spend large amounts of time trying to figure out the why. If that gives no satisfactory answers, we begin to asked who caused this thing. Jesus answered their question by saying, “Neither, but for the glory of God”. Some unfortunately have drawn the conclusion that God is somehow the author of tragedy so in someway He can be glorified. Some even suggest that trouble and sickness are given to us by God so that in someway we can glorify God through them. This is not what Jesus was saying at all. First of all He is saying that things happen to us that are not directly due to our sins or the sins of our parents. The common belief of that day and even today is that suffering is the result of sinful living and blessing is the result of godly living. I’ve lived long enough to observe that often the godly suffer and the sinful appear blessed. Jesus is saying to us that life happens, but nothing happens that is beyond God’s ability to address. When He states this is for the glory of God, Jesus is saying here is a place where God and His love can be made known. As I consider our state of being during this crisis, I recognize we all want to know why. Who’s responsible? But let me challenge us to respond rather with the question, “God, how can we glorify you in this? What work, help, blessing do you have for those in distress? How can you use me in my situation to be the instrument of your power and presence? God, how can I let you work all this out for our good? May God give us grace to trust Him more. May our theme song be, “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, How I’ve proved Him o’re and o’re! Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus, O for grace to trust Him more!
Dr. John Thompson