Where was God when…? Why did God allow…? What was God doing…? These are natural questions in the face of hardship or tragedy. None of them are new. People have been asking them from the beginning of time. Most of the time there are no easy or emotionally satisfying answers. Yet one thing is undeniable even in the midst of difficulties – God is completely and totally sovereign.
Yes, that raises even more questions. But in the midst of asking them, we must not sacrifice the beautiful truth that God is sovereign over everything. To do so takes us to a place much worse than our circumstances. It forces us to wrestle with this question: If God isn’t sovereign over everything, how do we know we can we trust him with anything? Thankfully, God is sovereign over everything. That’s why we can face anything and trust him with everything.
“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8 ESV). This is a stunning truth. We tend to think either consciously or unconsciously that the events in our lives reflect God’s attitude toward us. Jesus was perfectly obedient to the Father and yet he suffered in ways that none of us have or ever will. His experience reminds us that our circumstances are not a reflection of how God feels about us.
Circumstances change. God does not. If we are trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, we can rest assured about our Heavenly Father’s feelings toward us. His love and delight for his children is the same each day. Nothing we do can make him love us more or less.
I am afraid of suffering. There, I said it. (Admission is the first step right?) I came to this realization several months back. Deep down, everyone is afraid of something. For me that thing is suffering. It’s not that I haven’t faced hardships. And yet I still find myself afraid. Now why is that?
Am I afraid of what could happen to me or someone I love? Sure, but that’s not all there is to it. Am I afraid my faith will fail? To some extent, but I know that my ability to maintain faith does not ultimately rest on me. Is it my desire to maintain the illusion of control? That’s part of it but there’s something deeper. My fear shows a lack of complete and total trust in God. It’s not that I don’t want to trust him. Intellectually and experientially I know that I can trust him. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have doubts. That doesn’t erase my fear like it should. Lord, help me to rest in whose I am, who you are, and how perfectly you work all things for the good of those who love you.