I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I’ve gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It’s never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you oh Lord
My only shelter from the storms
But instead I draw closer through these times
Cue the bawling. I don’t know if my children noticed my crying as we’re driving along but there is one thing I need them to understand: God is Sovereign. It doesn’t indicate a nice sounding platitude but rather a deeper understanding of the Providence of God especially in those dark times when trials and tribulations are all we see and it feels as if we are suffocating in a chasm of despair. His hand is in everything and if this were not so, He would not be God.
A W. Pink in his book, The Sovereignty of God, writes:
The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Ps. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Ps. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.
God is Sovereign even over suffering as clearly seen in the accounts of Job, Joseph, and Jesus Christ. Nothing escapes His notice. Nothing surprises Him. He uses the ugliest sins to bring about His Purpose. That is not to say that He is the author of sin, but while man is completely accountable, God is orchestrating all of history to his own ends. The past is not a series of unconnected events, but rather His-Story. Everything that has ever happened, is happening now, or ever will happen does so to the dictates of God. The hand of God is over all of history.
These things I have come to treasure in my heart. No matter the circumstance I have come to acknowledge His Sovereign hand in my life and in the course of events as they are now unfolding. There is so much truth to His word, “My grace is sufficient for you,” for indeed it is. I am so thankful for the trials He has brought me through. Every fire He has bid me go through burns the chaff and refines me. Romans 5:3-5 says:
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The past ten years has seen our family through a series of trials. My oldest has had his share with brain surgery as an infant and two reconstructive ear surgeries in the past year and a half. My second oldest struggled with failure to thrive the first year of his life and doctors didn’t have much hope for him. Just last year he was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and functions currently on approximately a three-year-old level. Three days after my daughter was born I was rushed to the emergency room because I was hemorrhaging and had to have emergency surgery to save my life. My 14-month-old son was hospitalized for four days last year as a 4-week-old with bronciolotis. A month later my husband was in a car accident as a result of a hit and run. He walked away but from the pictures it was clearly seen that he was protected by the hand of God. We lost my husband’s parents. My dad was in a car accident several years ago and since then has had two surgeries to correct heart problems as a result. He is still taking medication and under a doctor’s care for his condition. On the homestead, two years in a row our goats were killed by our dogs which we also had to put down. In addition, our family dog, Mia, was accidentally backed over and she died as a result. In all this, I say, “Amen.” The LORD gives and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.
We know that death and suffering came as a result of Adam’s sin. As painful as it is, we need to acknowledge God’s Sovereign hand in it all. Would I want a life of comfort and ease if I could have a do-over? God forbid! As hard as it has been over the past ten years I would not wish a change in my circumstances. I am broken and because of my brokenness I see more readily my need for Him. I am susceptible to a great awareness of my trespasses against a Holy God. I am open to His correction. To His direction. To His purposes. Mother Theresa quipped that she knew that God wouldn’t give her any more than she could handle. I know differently. God will not give me anything that He cannot handle. He will not give you more than He can handle. He is Sovereign.
Casting Crowns’ song, “Praise You In This Storm” is a perfect rendition of how I comprehend His Sovereignty. No matter what He brings, I will give Him praise. He has been faithful in all things. No matter the present suffering, nothing compares to the coming Glory.
How have you seen His hand in your life? What song describes your life in Him?