The Limits of Explanation


Lord, thank You for reminding us that we don’t have to understand everything in order to exercise real faith. We don’t have to figure You out—we only have to trust You.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” —Isaiah 45:5-7

The sovereignty of God is a mystery. The mountaintop of His greatness is shrouded in clouds and mist. Our human minds cannot understand completely the infiniteness and the eternality of Almighty God.

But there are facets to His sovereignty we can learn from. One description is in Isaiah 45:7 where God says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” This is a Scripture you need to embrace. God is essentially saying, I am not only the Author of well-being, I am also the One who creates calamity. He designed a world in which you have the freedom to choose right or wrong, good or bad, sin or righteousness.

Bottom line, God is sovereign. And His sovereignty raises the question: if God really controls all things, how can He hold us responsible for our sinful choices?

Let’s start with this: Do you have free will? To answer, we must ask another question: Is it a choice of either human free will or God's sovereignty? Scripture shows us both are true.

Moses declared, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19).  Joshua challenged the nation of Israel, “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Jesus invited, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). You absolutely have a choice in what or whom you seek, follow, and obey.

You may say, “But wait. Ephesians 1 says God determines all things according to the purposes of His will.” Correct—that’s true, too. Both are true, and neither can be diminished. People have tried to solve the tensions between the sovereignty of God and the free will of man throughout church history.

It's a paradox: two parallel lines that meet in the mind of God only. “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

God is absolutely sovereign over all things. You also have a free will to make choices, for which you will give an account. God's sovereignty is a mystery. And when explanations come to an end, by His Spirit, God's Word is sufficient for us to rest on and live by. 


  • What questions about life have you simply had to leave in God’s hands? 
  • What truths have helped you do that?


Lord, thank You for reminding me I don’t have to understand everything in order to exercise real faith. I don’t have to figure You out. I have to trust You. Today, I want to take my choices seriously, but also remember You are ultimately in charge. Even when I make mistakes, You never lose control or lose sight of Your great plans. Thank You for the grace You’ve given to me in so many ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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