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How do you write something when it’s unfinished in your mind? For months now my mind has wrestled with this issue, the sovereignty of God.
Is my God omnipotent? Absolutely; I’ve seen and experienced it. He can heal the lame and raise the dead. He can repair a marriage, deliver from addiction, transform a life. My God can do anything.
Is my God omniscient? Without a doubt. I can’t hide from Him, for He sees and knows everything. Jonah tried and was tossed overboard. Achan tried and was stoned. Sapphira tried and God took her life. There’s nothing that God doesn’t see, nowhere that His glance doesn’t penetrate.
Is my God love? Beyond question. I’ve experienced it when I’m stuck in the mire of sin or even afraid to look at Him. I’ve received His love in the most unexpected times and in the most unlikely places. He is love.
Does my God cause pain? Yes and no. Sin causes pain, and Satan is both the accuser of the brethren and the author of sin and suffering. The evil in this world is the result of his work, not God’s. At the same time, if God is all-powerful -and I believe He is; if He is all-knowing -and I believe He is; if He is love- and I believe He is, how can He allow suffering and pain?
Herein lies the crux of my struggle.
I know that trials work redemptively in the life of the Christian, even as they are the outworking of the great controversy. They also reveal God to others, as in the case of Job or the blind man in John 9.
What I don’t understand is the cry of the child, beaten and abused, hiding in the dark. I can’t comprehend equally fervent and dedicated Christians, each praying and fasting for a miracle, yet one’s spouse lives, and the other dies. How can entire people groups be tortured and traumatized, simply because they are the “wrong” religion or ethnicity or color?
Life is messy. I can’t seem to compartmentalize another’s pain, stuffing it into the tidy box of “God allowed this in your life for some reason. You’ll understand when you get to heaven.” God, where is the answer now?
How trite we are as Christians. How perfunctorily we pat others on the back while glibly repeating words to somehow make us feel better.
God knew she couldn’t handle the trials coming. That’s why He allowed her to die.
God has a bigger purpose; He’s going to win someone to the gospel through that little girl being tortured.
If you only had more faith, your marriage would’ve been healed, or your child wouldn’t have left God, or your parent wouldn’t have died.
This trial was for your own character growth; God allowed it to make you more like Jesus.
Why are we so hard on others in order to placate ourselves? And why do we push it off on God, as if we somehow understand the mind of Omnipotence?
Is my God sovereign? Or more specifically, why does He intervene in certain situations and doesn’t appear to in others? My mind still hasn’t found the answer it’s seeking.
And yet, perhaps, the answer lies somewhere in my response. Are you willing to trust, Jill, even when you can’t understand?
Feel free to email me how you’ve wrestled with this sovereignty question yourself, at [email protected].
Jill Morikone is vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.