God is sovereign. When I learned this bedrock truth of Christianity it transformed my life.
And remembering and meditating on this truth has brought me hope and comfort through many trials, large and small, for decades.
What Does Is Mean That God Is Sovereign?
The sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that God is infinite, eternal, and above all things. He created all things, rules and is in absolute control of all things.
He knows every thought, word and deed that will ever be done, knows every event in the history of the universe, sustains and directs and controls all of history. Not one atom in the universe is outside his control.
He knows and has determined the future. So what does this mean for our lives?
Knowing That God Is Sovereign Means We Can Trust God For Our Future
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God has very specific plans for our future and nothing can stop him from fulfilling those plans.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8
Before God created the heavens and the earth he had a purpose for each one of us. And nothing can stop him from fulfilling that purpose.
We Can Trust God For Our Children’s Future Because He Is Sovereign
The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you. Psalm 102:28
Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2
God calls parents to bring up their children in the fear and instruction of the Lord, so we do all we can to teach our children about Jesus, but God is the one who saves them, and he does so in his timing and his way.
Sometimes God doesn’t do this when they are children. Augustine’s mother prayed for her son for years and years and God saved him before she died. Whether God saves our children when they are young or when they are older, we can trust that he hears our prayers and will rescue them because he is sovereign.
Because God Is Sovereign We Can Trust God To Answer Prayers
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
God has given us so many promises that he will answer our prayers. So we should never give up. We should keep asking, seeking and knocking, because God is able to change every situation.
In his infinite wisdom he has the perfect way to answer and the perfect timing to answer our prayers. And because he is sovereign, nothing can stop him from answering them.
Nothing Will Ever Separate Us From The Love Of God
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Because God is greater than all things and in absolute control of all things, even Satan himself cannot tear us from God’s love. God is greater than every power.
God is greater than our sins and failures. He is greater than our greatest weaknesses. He is greater than any temptation. He is greater than sickness and disease. He is greater than everything in all creation.
And he will never let us go. He will never stop loving us. We may not feel his love but we can know he has not stopped loving us, no matter what we’re going through.
All Things Are Working For Our Good
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Not one atom of the universe is outside God’s control. God is in control of every single event that ever happens in the world. All of history unfolds exactly as he has determined.
Though God is not the author of sin, he even knows the evil plans of men and even causes the wicked to fulfill his plans, as he did when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. As Joseph said to his brothers,
Because God Is Sovereign We Can Trust Him When We Suffer
We can trust that he is using the pain we suffer to make us like Christ and produce a glorious reward in heaven:
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 2 Corinthians 4:17
God Will Never Give Us More Than He Can Handle
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
In God’s infinite wisdom and love, He will not let us suffer one second longer than he has planned. We may feel like our pain is more than we can endure. But God is in absolute control of the duration and intensity of every trial. He knows exactly how much we can endure and will never give us more than he will give us the grace to handle.
We Can Rejoice In All Things
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4
It would make absolutely no sense for us to rejoice when going through pain and hardship if we didn’t know that God was sovereign.
We can give thanks and rejoice, not for the pain or sadness we endure, but we rejoice in the Lord, because he is in control, and again, will turn that pain to our good and our eternal reward.
We can rejoice because he uses our suffering to make us more and more like Christ.
We Can Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
Knowing God is sovereign, we can forgive others. Even the sins of others, as horrible and devastating as they may be, are somehow under God’s control, and part of his plan for us.
I don’t say this lightly, for I know many who have suffered in ways I cannot fathom. And even when I have been hurt by others it has not been easy for me to forgive. I definitely need God’s help to forgive.
But it has helped me to know that somehow, though I can’t imagine how, God has been in control of others’ sins and will use them for my ultimate good.
Joseph was able to forgive his brothers for betraying him and selling him into slavery because he knew God was sovereign:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20
Because God Is Sovereign We Can Trust Him With The Future of Our Churches
I have been a pastor since 1981. Over the years our church went through all kinds of trials. For a long season, we lost many people for various reasons.
Over the years God took our church through all kinds of crises and trials. There were times I didn’t know if we would make it. But I always tried to remember and pray that Jesus said, “I will build MY church.” So I had to trust him that he was sovereign, and would build our church.
And if he didn’t it would be part of his sovereign plan. But I didn’t need to fear, because it wasn’t my church it was HIS church. And despite my many weaknesses and shortcomings, Jesus has sustained and built our church over the years.
We Can Trust Him For The Future Of Our Nation
It seems like politics have become gargantuan in the minds of so many people, Christians included. And I see so many getting lathered up about politicians and their actions and statements. Many seem to be fearful for the future of our nation. We must not put our hopes in men but in God who is in control.
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Proverbs 21:1
God directs the hearts of kings and leaders. He controlled Pharaoh’s heart, he humbled Nebuchadnezzar, he directed Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia, to send Israel back to their homeland. He tells us in Isaiah 46:
remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. Isaiah 46:9-11
So we should pray for our leaders. And we can vote, and participate in politics, and watch the news if we want to, but let us never forget that God is sovereign over all nations and over all of history.
Knowing God is sovereign can bring us so much peace and so much hope. We must fight the good fight of faith, for at times it will not feel like God is sovereign, and the devil will lie to us, just as he lied to Eve.
He will say, “If God is sovereign, how could he allow this? Why did this happen? God is not sovereign. God is not involved here.” At those times we must fight as Jesus fought the lies of Satan, by the word of God, and his many promises that he is sovereign.