September 30, 2007

God controls it all

Our writing conference main speaker, Angela Hunt, talked mostly about the sovereignty of God. Most Christians would say we believe that, but in actual practice, it is more like “I need to be careful that I don’t mess up the will of God” or “I blame the devil for the troubles I’m having.”

Yes, we do make mistakes, and yes, Satan sticks his nose into our lives, but a careful study of Scripture (as we did in yesterday’s plenary session) shows that Satan can only do what God allows.

Further, even our mistakes fit into God’s plan. Case in point: the selling of Joseph into slavery. At the end of the story, he told his guilty and ashamed brothers, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

Basically, Angela said, and I agree, that we have a lot of audacity to think that our ‘plans’ can overrule the plans of God or that Satan’s puttering about can overthrow what God intends. Think of it; our view of God is the issue here. He cannot be partly sovereign.

My reading this morning includes Proverbs 11:24, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.”

Logic says if a person gives away their money in a generosity of spirit, they will be poor, but if a person hangs on to their hard-earned cash, they will gradually increase their wealth.

The sovereignty of God overthrows logic. Many times, what seems the right way will be reversed. Here, generous people become more wealthy. God, who sees those who He can trust with His vast resources, makes sure those generous people get the wealth that He wants spread around.

In contrast, those who selfishly and even greedily hoard their money are apt to find themselves with unexpected expenses and other ‘holes in their pockets.’ God knows how to distribute funds, whether I hang on to mine or give my money away.

Sometimes I question poverty. People might spend their entire life with never quite enough, yet who am I to know what is enough? God knows, and in His sovereignty He, not the bankers, brokers, lenders, not even the stock and money markets, controls the wealth of the world.

And money is just one thing; He is sovereign over everything. Satan is defeated and on a leash. He can only do what God allows, what God wants to use in His vast and sometimes mysterious plans.

I also make many mistakes, but He is never surprised nor does He have to put into action Plan B. Even my foolishness and dumb stunts are part of the “all things” that He can “work together for my good” to transform me into the image of His Son. (Romans 8:28-29)

The bottom line, said our speaker, is that faith in God’s sovereign control produces peace in our hearts, no matter what happens.

So on Friday when a simple two-stop flight from Tampa to Edmonton became a grueling and long endurance test, she came off the plane smiling, checked into her room, took off her makeup, donned her pj’s, came to the conference room, joyfully told us how the sovereignty of God works, and then happily bid us goodnight and sent us to bed.

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