In the lesson entitled “Charting a Course Through Thorns” Jennifer Rothschild uncovers a biblical truth that is the most reassuring, stabilizing, hope filled truth in Scripture. As she handles the question of the thorns in our lives, she states,
“Remember that you know and are known by the sovereign God who is in control of every part of creation. He sees when the sparrow falls. He knows the thorns that bring you pain. God is able to use evil people and evil acts to accomplish His glory and our good. God is in control of Satan and his actions; Satan can never act outside the limits God sets.”
Interestingly, when this truth first hits our understanding we are inclined to balk and want to refuse it. After all, it is more than a little unsettling to think of God in charge of thorns in our lives! Jennifer was questioned about this teaching by a woman taking the study and she used her blog on June 29th to amplify what she has found in Scripture regarding this biblical truth.
Over the years, I have often encountered questions on the topic of God’s sovereignty and I have come to the conclusion that it is more than a little unsettling to think of God not in charge of the thorns in my life! The question of the extent of His control has pressed me to consider what would it mean if God is not sovereign? It seems to me it would mean that I was left to my own devices. I would be an orphan cast out to fend for myself. It would mean a life controlled by fear, insecurity, purposelessness, nothing that I did or that happened to me would have any ultimate meaning.
If God is not sovereign over all then what or who is? If I reject His sovereignty does that make me in charge? If I am in charge how would I explain when bad things happen? Would I then have to say when things went awry evil is in charge of the universe? If Satan ends up not under God’s control but co-equal to Him then he is free to do his worst and we are much to be pitied! If I am in charge, that is if my will or my ability to make choices is something that God bows to and leaves inviolate then He is not God–I am–doesn’t that thought make you shutter?
In the end, it is when I encounter the cross that my musings are silenced. It is in surveying that event that the truth about who or what is in control is finally put to rest. I ponder Satan’s efforts and watch him fling all the power he possesses against God– seeking to thwart God’s plan to save the world from evil. I look at my Savior and weigh His suffering as Satan was allowed to do his worst. It was there at that same cross that God was simultaneously using Satan’s evil as a vehicle to accomplish the greatest good! When you look to the cross who do you say is in control of all things?
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.? (John 16:33)