Our God reigns! Or does He? Is it possible He has abdicated, left town? A look at current events can certainly make such a conclusion understandable. Worldwide pandemic with millions dead, significant economic hardship around the world, Christians severely persecuted and even killed for their faith in significant numbers, military threats from China. In our own country, we have pandemic induced isolation and economic hardship, fires in the West, the busiest tropical season on record so far, riots in the streets, shortages of random items, plus an election season as rancorous as any on record. If you watch the news, it can be quite difficult not to become depressed or even suicidal. On top of all this, we have our culture’s apparent wholesale rejection of anything resembling Biblical values, plus a growing unwillingness to even listen to opposing viewpoints. Instead, anything other than the culturally accepted view is cancelled, that is, deemed completely unworthy of existing.
We see all that, yet we declare, “Our God reigns!” How can we? How dare we? We dare because it is true. We can because it is true. Please note three inescapable facts.
First, as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes put it, “There is nothing new under the sun.” All of the above has been going on in various places around the world. Indeed, in our own country, one only need go back 100 years to land in an eerily similar time. Having just witnessed the bloodiest war ever, the United States faced the Spanish Flu pandemic, riots and terrorist bombings, economic turmoil, and dramatic social changes. Yet, in the midst of it God was at work building His Church.
Second, we have the clear affirmations of the Scriptures, the testimony of the people of God down through the centuries. God spoke all things into existence by the word of His power (Genesis 1). God turns the hearts of kings like a water course wherever He wills (Proverbs 21:1). God raises up, and God puts down. God acts and none can stay His hand (Daniel 2:21; 4:34b-35). God declares the end from the beginning, that it will be, and it is (Isaiah 46:10). He accomplishes all His holy will. He establishes the length of our days (Psalm 139:16). God controls the wind and the rain (Psalm 148:8; Mark 4:39). He sends snow and hail (Psalm 147:16). He gives breath to all (Numbers 27:16). He withholds His breath and they die. In short, God has decreed whatsoever comes to pass. There is absolutely nothing in heaven or on earth that is outside of His sovereign control.
Third, we can see His working in our world even now. It can be so easy to become locked in on the bad news, and there is plenty of that to occupy our attention. Yet the God who reigns over all is good and is at work in everything for His glory and for the good of His people. See Romans 11:36 and 8:28-30. Where may we see His hand at work? On a personal level, He even now grants us life and breath, food and drink, shelter and clothing. Many of us can speak of how we have experienced His healing touch, His comforting presence, His transforming grace. But the Lord is not just at work in our individual lives. He is at work in the world even today. There are parts of the world, especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where the Gospel is spreading rapidly. The upheavals in the Middle East that have resulted in a major refugee crisis have also opened doors for the proclamation of the Gospel among those refugees, and many are coming to Christ. All over the world there are those who are standing firm against the tide of Godlessness. Let us be diligent to look beyond the headlines, to dig deeper to find those places where we can see the hand of God working. Read our missionaries’ letters, access news sources that will report what the church is doing throughout the world, ask others to talk about the good things they see God doing. He is sovereign and He is at work all around us and in each of us who trust in Him.
Dear friends, November 4th will bring bad news that may or may not have anything to do with the election, or COVID, or any of the other things mentioned above. Will you, in the face of it, look up to our sovereign God, who alone reigns, and watch for Him to work it all for His glory and for the good of His people?