Summary: Most Christians believe that God is sovereign, however when it comes to the bad and ugly things we face in life we seem to think that God is not in control of those. A honest look at God
Matthew 6:25-34; 10:29-30
It has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now that something is wrong with our general perception of God – generally speaking of course. You only need to open the newspapers, or read the comments of friends and acquaintances to realise that the perception that people have of God, in particular with regards to His sovereignty is seriously amiss.
Now why it has never before occurred to me exactly what the problem was I can’t tell you, but recently while reading a comment someone made on an internet website it hit me like a ton of bricks!
When we think of God, we have this image of a loving and good God who will never allow bad things to happen to us as people. Just think how many times have people asked the question as to why God would allow terrible things to happen?
The main trend today seems to be that many are proclaiming that God doesn’t want bad things to happen, but because the world in sinful, these things are bound to happen. Now this is where my problem comes in, because if these bad and terrible things happen outside of the will of God, then God is not in control of them, and therefore He is not sovereign, and therefore He is not God!!!
Listen carefully to this – the fact that God is sovereign means that He IS in COMPLETE control of the world! The good and nice things, but also the bad and ugly things! (What this means in practical terms is what we need to discover over the next few weeks)
Illustration – man falling off cliff – grabs branch, starts coming loose – looks to heaven – anyone up there who can help me – deep voice – yes, just let go and trust me, man looks down, up again – is there anyone else who can help me?
I like this, because this is typically the cultural mentality that we have today! People fail/ refuse to believe that God will sometimes allow bad things to happen to us. (By the way, what we are also going to have a look at in the weeks to come is the difference between God “allowing” something to happen as opposed to God “causing” something to happen)
This little illustration actually has a few very important questions that we need to answer!
1. Is there anyone up there? Important question today, especially in the face of the every growing and increasingly popular teaching that God does not exist! On the other hand of course while many, in fact the majority of South Africans believe in some kind of higher power or some kind of divine being, there is very little evidence that these people truly KNOW who that is! Maybe I need to rephrase that question – Is there a personal being in charge of the universe up there?
2. Now there’s a second part to this little story that is rather significant. Remember the question our mountain climber was asking? He asked is there anybody up there who can ...what? Who Can He help?
This is the question modern man seems to be struggling with. If there is a God in the supernatural realm, outside of the sphere of this world, the next question we need to answer is: “Can He help me?
Can He be of any help to us? Maybe we need to change this question just a little bit, because it’s kind of a two-barrel question. The first half is can He help me, in other words, is He able to help me, and the second half then must follow as: Is He able, and if He is able, is He willing to help me?
Before we get into this part of the question I think it is becoming necessary for me to just deviate slightly for a minute or two. There is a belief in this world of ours, a way of thinking that has largely removed God from controlling His creation! We have often heard of, and I think safe to say often used the term “mother nature”. What some people mean when they speak of “mother nature” is an idea that God has NO control over the things that happens in the world. In other words, and by the way many wonderful children of God believe this, they say that God set the world on a kind of natural course so that the wind will blow at times, and it will rain at times, and the sun will rise and the sun will set etc, all outside of the control of God.
They say that natural disasters, and sickness, and death, and all the terrible things we read about in the papers and see on the television are all contrary to the sovereign will of God. They say that God set a sort of mechanical operating system in place to control much of what happens in the world and that that system now operates completely independently from Gods will.