The other day I was watching Mark Driscoll’s sermon on the book of Ruth. One of the things I appreciated in his message and what I wish to share with you is this truth of the sovereignty of God and how it fits into the world that we live in. This speaks into our current reality as the world faces natural disasters all over. How do we reconcile this fact that God is sovereign and yet, suffering, destruction, pain, and death all exist in our world? Let me share with you some quick thoughts…
We begin with the truth that God is sovereign. Let me be clear in saying, this means that nothing is beyond the power and will of God. However, this truth, as Driscoll says, must be held together with another truth about God—that is, God is good. If we accept that God is sovereign, yet do not recognise that He is good, then we get into all sorts of trouble. In short, we begin to say that God allows the evils of the world. However, if God is good, then it begins to take a different perspective.
How then do we reconcile a good and sovereign God in our broken world? Before we answer this question, let me draw a distinction between the sovereignty of God and the will of God. The sovereignty of God means that nothing is beyond God’s knowledge and power. The will of God is God’s desired plan of action in His creation. However, understand that the two are not one and the same.
With that in mind, let’s see how we might respond. Firstly, sin does not proceed from the will of God. In the sovereignty of God, He created humankind in His image allowing them free will. As a consequence, this opens the door for humankind to reject the will of God. Sin, therefore, comes as no surprise to God as He is still capable to deal with it in His sovereignty. However, one might ask, “Why doesn’t God intervene?” My personal response is this: God must uphold the free will of His creation, to intervene on the free will of humanity would go against the integrity of His creation.
Let me be clear, sin does NOT surpass the sovereignty of God or His will. His will is His intention for humankind, but it is not something that is enforced should people choose to reject it and rebel against God. In some sense, it is a case of a “what you see is what you get” world. Where humankind has rejected and rebelled against God’s good and perfect will for them, they pay the price in the continual decay of this world.
However, for Christians, we must also remember that God is good. As Paul writes (Romans 8:28):
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
So, despite the world that we live in and all the consequences the world faces for their rebellion against God, God is still able to work in the midst of that to bring about good for those who love Him. It may not be clear in the midst of trouble and despair, but God has always come out on top for His people. After all, God is sovereign and God is good.