One of the most difficult theological concepts to grasp is the sovereignty of God. To believe that God is in control of everything, everywhere, at all times is hard for us to accept. It seems incongruent because things appear chaotic and out of control. Our mind tells us that if God is in control, then he is doing a terrible job. Things shouldn’t go wrong, and bad things shouldn’t happen. That might be the case if God had left us without free choice and without the ability to reject him. That, however, is not the way God chose to design our world. He gave us the tools we needed to write God off and completely reject him. Just think about that for a moment. If you could give yourself the ultimate power to control everyone in your world, would you give them the power to reject your ideas and rebel against you? Well, that is exactly what God did. He didn’t create mindless robots; he created people with the ability to think and make choices. Obviously, those choices can take them toward God or away from God.
The Biblical doctrine of God’s Sovereignty means God is always in control—that his plan will ultimately triumph, and there is no one who can thwart his plans. No time in history looked more like a disaster than the Passion Week as Jesus was on his way to the cross. He was betrayed by one of his own and forced to go through the sham of a trial which ignored legal protocol. He was traded like a pawn between the Jewish leaders, Pilate and Herod. He was abused, mocked, scourged, ridiculed and eventually crucified—the hideous death of the worst criminal. Could God the Father not have stopped this miscarriage of justice? Could God not have said, “This is enough!” Could he not have said, “You will not do this to my beloved son?” He could have, but he didn’t. He did not intervene, nor did he send his angels to save his son from the horrific death on the cross. From a human view point, God could never have seemed more powerless, but from a Biblical viewpoint, God was behind the events. He had declared through his prophet Isaiah:
“Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.”
When Jesus let Judas leave the Last Supper to finish his conspiracy to murder, he was in control. When Jesus stood up and faced his opposition in the garden of Gethsemane, he was in control. When he looked down from the cross and gave instructions for the care of his mother, he was in control. When he prayed for his enemies while hanging from the cross, he was in control. Jesus’ actions during what we call the Passion Week give us a picture of the sovereignty of God. If Jesus, when walking only a few steps away from death, could demonstrate unparalleled control and purpose, how much more can he lead us through our tough times.
My belief in the sovereignty of God tells me that I am never alone and never without his help. God can be trusted because he has shown us how to live. He knows what it is like to have your world fall apart and still hold your course and live out your purpose. If you want to know more self-control, then surrender to the one who controls the universe.