Finding Comfort in the Who behind the What and the Why

Has God ordained the rise and fall of Lucifer? Has he planned and governed all the chaos resulting from the Prince of Darkness? Was it God’s will that you be born with the sin nature of Adam?

How about the Holocaust or other examples of ethnic genocide, was this foreordained by the King of Kings?

Did God foreordain the car crash on the highway or the last plane that plummeted from the sky?

How about the political chaos on the world scene in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, North Korea, or Washington, DC? Is the government really on Jesus’ shoulders? Is everything really going perfectly according to his eternal plan?

More personally, did God decreed the affair that is currently killing your family? Has he sovereignly planned your struggle with your particular sin? How about the disease that devastates you or your loved one; does God’s omniscience and omnipotence cover prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease? Have you recently been severed from your job; was that part of God’s will? Has he really “numbered the days” of your friend who recently took his or her own life?

Some would say that God cannot know the future because this would limit human freedom and turn individuals into robots.

Some would say that God cannot control the future. He is doing the best he can, but the world is too big for him to watch over, much less control.  

Some would say that God has chosen not to control the future. Occasionally he gets involved in the “big stuff,” but for the most part, he chooses not to get actively involved in the daily affairs of men. 

Some would say that God knows the end of every possible contingency, but he does not know exactly which one will play out in the end. As men use their free will, he learns and responds accordingly.

Some would say this and others would say that. But more importantly, what says the Scripture? Well friends, there are many biblical narratives and teaching sections that could be used to highlight the planning and providence of God over all things — without exception, but today, my eyes lighted upon a particular passage found in Isaiah. Let’s listen to the prophet of God present the words of God regarding the will of God:

Isaiah 37:23-27    

Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel! By your servants you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon, to cut down its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses, to come to its remotest height, its most fruitful forest. I dug wells and drank waters, to dry up with the sole of my foot all the streams of Egypt.

Have you not heard that I determined it long ago?

I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass …

That you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins, while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops, blighted before it is grown.

According to this sacred text, God foreordained the rise of pagan Assyria. He “determined” it long ago and  “planned” it from days of old. Consequently, as part of his plan, he decreed and predestined the fall of Israel and all the accompanying oppression, poverty, abuse, death, destruction, and psychological pain.

God did not delight in Assyria’s sin.

God did not perform the sin. Satan and Assyria were more than willing to harm the chosen nation.

God did not ignore Assyria’s sin. In a few verses he promised to judge those who committed such sins. (37:28-29)

But there was no doubt about it, God decreed the sin and maintained his sovereignty over the sin which he had foreordained from days of old. God was sovereign over evil and its resulting chaos.

So, where does this leave us as we suffer the effects of Adam’s sin, other’s sins, and out own iniquity?

It should leave us questioning why God is doing what he has ordained. This is a legitimate question in response to the decreed pain of God, and it may or may not be answered on this side of paradise.

It should leave us questioning how God will use what he has planned. Who knows what God is doing? This too is a legitimate question that may or may not be revealed to us before glory.

It should not leave us questioning who has decreed that which we have and are experiencing, and who has the help, stop, and redeem that which we harms us so.

Therefore, as we question and cry, let us not be blasphemous and deny the goodness or  greatness of God. Additionally, let us not be depressed and hopeless concluding that this world has gone haywire. Let us not do that which unbelievers do and become bitter by failing to worship God in the midst of our horror. And let us not come to the conclusion that those who commit wicked deeds ever get by with their sin. Instead, humbly and confidently, let us thank God for his mercy, trust God for his grace, and be perfected by him in the midst of our trials and tribulations. (James 1)

We may not understand the WHAT and the WHY of the WHO, but we can find some measure of confidence of the WHO who has ordained, determined, decreed and planned the WHAT and the WHY.

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