There is no one like God … This is a very provoking thought.
Have you noticed that when you suffer, your thoughts go to God immediately? Often we wonder in our heart why God is “making” us suffer, we wonder why God “did this to us”, or we wonder why God won’t put a halt to it or change our circumstances.
We do not like to believe that God could actually be orchestrating our suffering.
As you reflect on these hard times, do you realize that you can see Him clearly as you suffer? Perhaps clearer than ever before? As we suffer, we see His hand moving in our hearts — not always changing the circumstances but changing our hearts for the better.
No idol we set or prop up can do that. No other object of worship can change the heart of man for the better, or conform him to the image and likeness of Christ. In the midst of great pain and suffering we see God doing miraculous things within us. He is changing our attitudes, intentions, beliefs and desires. As we internalize Scripture, take it to heart, and apply it to our lives, the heart begins to desire what God desires. It becomes much more important that we bring Him glory rather than have our own way.
Surely we do not need any more proof than these resulting spiritual changes to understand that a part of the purpose in suffering is to show us there is no one like God.
God is sovereign, and the sovereignty of God is huge. I find it is the place we struggle with our Christianity. We often say at our counseling center that if people understood the sovereignty of God, we would have no need for a counseling center! That is how crucial understanding God’s sovereignty is and how much it affects life!
Jerry Bridges book Trusting God is an excellent book for understanding the sovereignty of God. If you struggle with issues of God’s sovereignty, I strongly urge you to get this book and read it thoroughly.
Dear reader, can you understand that in God’s sovereign purposes, what you are suffering with or under is under His authority? Your heavenly Father is managing it; He is in charge of it! He has a purpose and a plan for it! No matter what “it” is! This is so challenging for us to comprehend.
We see this demonstrated in the life of Christ. Jesus Himself affirmed God’s sovereignty in calamity when Pilate said to him,
Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.John 19:10-11
Jesus understood that God had set this chain of events in place, and nothing would change them unless God Himself intervened from above. When we view God’s actions in the life of His own Son, Jesus Christ, we have no choice but to affirm that God was completely in control of all the events of that “Good Friday.”
Next time you are struggling and want to believe that everything is spinning wildly out of control and maybe even are tempted to believe that God has no control over our circumstances, we must tell ourselves this truth:
If anything or anyone can act outside of His sovereign rule, then He cannot be God.Jerry Bridges, Trusting God
This means that God is sovereign over all the heinous actions of people in this world: all diseases, wars, crazy dictators and government officials, financial issues, the country, and my own family. God is sovereign over the tragedy in your life.
Because God is sovereign He is completely aware and in control of the composition of our suffering. He uses the suffering, He works in it. He ministers through it to us and those in our lives. He controls the duration of the suffering and is always completely 100% in control of the suffering.
You may not believe this is true. This is an error in thinking on your part. It reveals an area of your theology that must be changed. Even in the moments of despair, you must cling to Him and His sovereignty over people and decisions. He is all you have and He is all you need.
You must accept that God is the sovereign God of the entire universe and that He does what He wants with what belongs to Him. “The entire universe” belongs to Him.
If He is not always in control, then He is not God. This does not make God some cruel despotic dictator; it makes Him the loving Sovereign God who orchestrates the events of life in all quarters of earth and humanity to bring Himself glory.
The suffering we endure is not as much about us as it is about Him and the glory He reveals through us as we suffer. The glory that is revealed is through it all, in spite of it all. He “keeps” us. He gives us the ability to believe, gives us the faith to believe, gives us Someone to believe in! He gives us the Holy Spirit who teaches us and seals us. He gives us the wisdom to know how to act and react in the midst of suffering.
As we suffer we gain confidence and trust in that sovereignty. Can you look back and see His limiting hand in your circumstances? Can you see how when you really thought you were done in completely that God showed you that you were not? He took you that extra inch, extra foot, and maybe that extra mile to show you that in spite of what you thought, He is sovereign, He is in control, and He brought you through it.
Trust Him — He loves you!