A more complicated example is that of a student who studies very hard for a final examination and does well. Does he get the good grade because of his hard work or because of God’s sovereignty? Well, the answer is that there is something wrong with the way the question is posed. On the one hand, if the student does not work hard, he or she does not receive a good grade. On the other hand, the good grade is also part of God’s sovereign plan. Thus, the student’s hard work and God’s sovereignty are not mutually exclusive. Likewise, if the student does not study and receives a failing grade, is it because of his laziness or because of God’s sovereignty? Once again, the question is poorly formulated, because God’s sovereignty works with human actions.
Many positive fruits flow from knowing that God is in control of all things. Foremost among them is the comfort that such knowledge brings. Whether it is the joyful event of a baby being born, the exultation of a high grade in school, or sad news of death and defeat, God is always in command. Moving from the abstract to the concrete, God is in control of events of terrible devastation. So it is with the murder of worshipers, the fall of the tower of Siloam, or even the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. Evil is caused by human sin, yet it is also a part of God’s sovereign plan.
This knowledge must impact our daily lives. Now that many months have passed since the terrorist hijackings, what do you think about flying? Knowing God’s sovereignty, ultimately we can face physical challenges fearlessly.
However, there are other challenges in the Christian life, too. As we reflect upon the state of the church, it sometimes appears that we face challenges that are simply too great. However, God’s sovereignty motivates us to find ways in which we can face the challenges and serve Him so that His kingdom advances.
We must begin with the individual. God has sovereignly placed each of us in the family and the church of His sovereign choice. We must strive to develop lives of faithfulness in the place God has carved out for us. From that point, we move out in our thoughts and actions to our relatives and other believers with confidence that our good God is in control.
Jesus told His listeners—and us—that unless they repented they all would perish. As we reflect upon our repentance, we must not forget that even it comes from God’s sovereign working in our lives (Rom. 2:4).
He created all the situations that led us to the place of repentance. And He will not stop controlling the events of our lives because we have become Christians!
This knowledge is very powerful. The worshipers died in God’s providence. The tower fell in God’s sovereign plan. We thus face our own adversities with fearless hope. We face advances and prosperity knowing that they are truly gifts from a gracious God, not what we have accomplished on our own. He has brought us to repentance and does not see our sins any longer. Rather, God sees us as sons and daughters. Our hopes are all found in Him. That hope is powerful!