You have a sovereign author who writes the chapters of your life. These words are both comforting and perplexing to me. Comforting because of the reality that God is infinitely sovereign. Yet perplexing, because my finite mind cannot fully comprehend God’s sovereignty.
Each weekday morning when dropping off our three sons at school, Kara and I share this statement, “Remember who you are and whose you are today!” Often we receive an eye roll response, “Dad/Mom, I know.” Apparently Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff were right, parents just don’t understand! In all seriousness, we want to remind our boys they have a true identity and they belong to a sovereign God. They belong to God, their battles belong to God, their future belongs to God, their needs belong to God, because He is sovereign.
The subject of God’s sovereignty carries a long history of study. Scholars have given their lives to exploring the deep waters of this doctrine. These broad and immense waters can feel overwhelming and complicated. Therefore, my goal is not to provide a definitive work detailing the sea of God’s sovereignty, but I hope to bring us to the shoreline so we can get a glimpse of His sovereign beauty. Many people are comprehending the fragility of their lives through our modern pandemic, thus a modest understanding of God’s sovereignty seems critical.
Over time, the Book of Romans has become my favorite book of the Bible because the Apostle Paul unpacks profound gospel-truths such as man’s depravity, salvation by grace, standing justified before a Holy God, and the security of God’s love for us. Yet, something unique takes place in Chapter 11, as Paul breaks out in an unrehearsed prayer of praise! What stirred the affections of Paul’s soul and drove him to this prayer? The reality of God’s sovereignty movedPaul; that all authority and power in heaven and on earth belongs to God, and no life, circumstance, or location is beyond His rule.
Paul writes, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33, ESV). Just consider for a moment that God is limitless in all that he possesses. This truth extends beyond mere wealth — although He owns all things. God’s wealth includes limitless love, abounding grace, absolute truth, and more than we could ever comphrend.
Each year Forbes Magazine releases its list of the 500 Richest People in the World. From 1995 to 2007, and again in 2009, Bill Gates held the distinction of the number one position. Gates’s current net worth is estimated between $98-$104 Billion. This number seems unrelatable that we quickly move on to the next person on the list. But just consider the extent of Gates’s wealth. If Bill Gates gave every single living person on the planet $10, he would still have over $30 Billion left over. For Bill Gates to be broke, the 64-year-old would have to spend $1 million per day over the next 285 years. And Gates has remained the now second richest person in the world, even though he and his wife Melinda have given approximately 27% of their net worth to charities.As impressive as Gates’s wealth and generosity is, it does not step onto the same field as God’s sovereign riches and generosity. Just consider, you and I are recipients of His generous love, grace, truth, resources, etc.!
Paul doesn’t stop. He continues in amazement, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33, ESV). The sovereignty of God also includes His unlimited wisdom and knowledge. How critical this truth is for our current times! For God to be unlimited in wisdom and knowledge, means that not one past or present or future activity, decision, event, or piece of information is beyond the knowledge of God. And yet, God in all that He knows can wisely work all things for His Glory and our good. Therefore, we can find much comfort in knowing that a modern pandemic is no surprise to God, and He is actively enforcing His sovereign wisdom.
I must confess that I often scrutinize God’s ways. Much like a child who accuses his parents of not taking the best route while driving to a destination, I default to the childish belief that I know the best routes for my life and the lives of others. Therefore, the next few words of Paul pierce my heart, “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’” (Romans 11:33-35, ESV). Notice that God has never needed a counselor, nor has God ever been indebted to anyone. Meaning we are not deserving of anything, but only out of His grace for us do we receive every gift He has given. This truth might seem harder to comprehend during difficult times like we are experiencing now, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true. God is still graciously providing for undeserving people!
Paul concludes his prayer with a grand finale, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36, ESV). One can sense Paul’s posture of surrender to the sovereign author over all the chapters of his life.
In precarious days like these, we don’t have to hide in the cellar and lock the door, hoping to escape our pain and fear. For we know that all things are from our sovereign God, through our sovereign God, and to our sovereign God. Amen!