Two Principles that Must Never Be Separated
First, God is intimately acquainted with us in every way: “For you formed my inward parts” ([Psalm 139] v.13). And second, God is absolutely sovereign over everything that happens to us: “…in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (v.16). If we focus on God’s intimate acquaintance with us, but forget or ignore the concept of His sovereignty, we end up with a God who cares deeply about us, but is not able to ultimately control destiny for our good. Many of us may lean this way when trouble, hardship, or illness strikes. On the other hand, if we emphasize God’s sovereignty without remembering that He loves us, our times of pain and difficulty will be quite terrifying:
“God ordained this for me! How awful!” The idea of an absolutely sovereign God will not be a comfort to us, but rather a terror, in the pain of life unless we also believe that He is a loving God who has ordained difficulties for us. When we acknowledge both God’s sovereignty and His great interest in us and concern for us, we can rest in the worst hardship, knowing that even though God Himself has determined that this awful thing should befall us, He has lovingly ordained it for our good. Perhaps a concrete example of this perspective might drive this home: Many Christians will get to heaven and say, “Lord you bitterly afflicted me in life with cancer,” and then incredibly go on to exclaim, “but thank you, thank you, Lord! How kind you were to me and how awesome are your deeds!”
Written by: Laurie Aker
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