What’s a good word to describe God? Omniscient? Omnipotent? I like the word sovereign when describing how God works in my life. Omniscient makes me think of some giant pulsating brain that controls the thoughts of the masses, much like the evil force on the planet Camazotz called IT in Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and the word omnipotent conjures images of Zeus hurling lightning bolts down on whomever displeases him. When I think about the word sovereign I see a kindhearted, benevolent King Who is omniscient and omnipotent and at the same time lovingly orchestrates and oversees the events of my life to ensure that all things lead to my benefit, people’s good, and ultimately God’s glory.
It is a simplistic and childlike viewpoint, to be sure, because there are things that happen in life that are horrifically painful and terrifying. In the past few weeks we’ve seen videos of innocent men brutally beheaded by those acting under the forces of evil (convinced they are doing good), we’ve read accounts of children being mutilated and decapitated and sliced in two, and we are always reminded of those who are languishing in prison for no other crime than being a Christian. There are many, many– too many–other people groups who are suffering dreadfully. Much closer to home, there was a 20-year old man killed in a car accident just yesterday, and also yesterday, a dear friend of mine who was nearly full-term with her second child discovered that he died in her womb, and she will now have to give birth to a stillborn baby boy either tonight or tomorrow morning through induction. In my personal life, my husband and I are navigating the unfamiliar territory of supporting our son who was recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. How do any of these things benefit me, bring goodness to people, or give God glory?
If God is omniscient, does He know that all these terrible things are happening? If He is omnipotent, is He powerless to stop it? Why doesn’t He just stop it? How can He allow it? Many others have written much more eloquent answers to these questions than I can write. I am not a theologian nor a Biblical scholar. I’m a middle-aged working mom who trusts in God’s sovereignty no matter what, because I know that He knows, I know that He can, and I know that He will bring all things to right in the end, and it is this faith that enables me to endure.
Miriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced the death penalty testified,
“I had my trust in God,” she said. “My faith was the only weapon that I had in these confrontations with imams and Muslim scholars, because that’s what I believe.”
While God is sovereign, there is still the reality that we live in a fallen world, and that through the Fall control of the earth came into Satan’s hands. During Jesus’ temptation, Satan told Him he would give Him all the kingdom’s of the world, and Jesus didn’t dispute the claim that these kingdoms were Satan’s to give. As Christians we believe that Jesus is coming again in power and glory and will exercise His sovereignty to hurl Satan into the Lake of Fire and set up His rule and reign in a Millennial Kingdom.
Even as we wait for His glorious return, and as we still suffer challenging situations and hear of atrocities around the world, we have hope that He is not powerless to move and work on our behalf now. I trust in my simplistic, childlike way that God is the Ultimate Superhero, endowed with Sovereignty, and that He works all things for my benefit, for the good of all who have faith in Him, and that His Name will be glorified.