In this series of blogs on “trust in the storm,” we are now exploring ways that we, too, can become people who trust the Lord, even in the midst of the storms and the threats of our lives. Jesus is our perfect example of trust, and we as His disciples must learn how to live by faith and walk by trust in the Lord in the midst of all our circumstances so that we walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).
Strategy 2: Know that God is sovereign and that He loves His children
Knowing the great doctrines of our faith will greatly strengthen our ability to trust the Lord in times of storms. Two of the great truths taught in Scripture are 1) that our holy God is completely sovereign over all events that take place in His universe and He has ordained all that comes to pass; and 2) that our holy God loves His (adopted) children as He loves His Son Jesus. Together these two truths give the believer tremendous encouragement and a rock solid basis for trusting the Lord. Let me explain.
It may come as a surprise to you, but there are no coincidences or chance occurrences in this universe, because the universe is run and completely controlled by the sovereign God who created the universe. “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). Whatever occurs happens because God has planned it and ordained it to happen. He does whatever He pleases and there is no one and nothing who has the power to stop or alter what God has decreed. God opens and no one will shut, and shuts and no one opens (Revelation 3:7). The Bible declares that God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). And all things means ALL THINGS. There is nothing that occurs that takes place without God ordaining it to happen. This is what it means for God to be sovereign. God is the absolute ruler of His universe and it is by His decree that events unfold.
Taken by itself, this doctrine of God’s sovereignty could inspire more fear than trust. After all, when something unpleasant or frightening happens in my life, knowing that God was the one who decreed that it would happen does not give me much comfort nor does knowing about God’s sovereignty elicit my trust. Yes, this God is certainly infinitely powerful, but I am not sure I can trust that His power will produce my good. In other words, there is a missing piece. There is something in addition to God’s sovereignty that I need to know.
That missing piece is the doctrinal truth that the Creator-God who is sovereign over His universe is the same God who loves His children. The Bible declares that God the Father loves His children even as He loves Jesus Christ (John 17:23). This truth is almost too good to be believed, but these words are from the lips of Jesus. Through Isaiah, God says, “You are precious in My sight, you are honored and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4). These are the extravagant words of a lover to his beloved and yet we read that God is using these expressions about His love for us. The mind boggles. In the Psalms the Word declares that “the Lord delights in those who fear Him” (147:11) and “the Lord takes pleasure in His people” (149:4). Supremely God has demonstrated His love for His people by sending the Lord Jesus to earth to die on a cross for our sins (Romans 5:8). The Bible thunders the amazing doctrinal truth that the God who is powerful enough to ordain and superintend every event big or small in His entire universe is also the God who loves His people passionately and unconditionally with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
Now when we pair these doctrines together and understand that the God who is sovereign over all the events of our life is also the same God who loves us enough to send His Son to the cross to die for our sins, we have a powerful combination that should generate strong trust in the Lord. My God is powerful enough to control every circumstance and event in my life. By His sovereignty He has planned and ordained all that happens to me. Thus I can trust in His power exercised on my behalf. Romans 8:28 declares that “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:31 asks the rhetorical question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The answer is, “No one of consequence.” Because He is sovereign, God has the power to cause all things to happen exactly according to His plan and purpose. And because He loves me, I can trust that the events He chooses to bring into my life will be good and are for my good. His love for me is expressed in His sovereign control of all of my life so that I give Him the glory due His name.
I challenge you to think on these things. Meditate on God’s power and His sovereignty, which He chooses to expend on behalf of His children. And consider His love for you, which He has already shown you by sending Jesus into the world and by delivering you from the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Let these two doctrines fuel your trust in the Lord.
SDG rmb 10/10/2016