God only knows?
Have you ever used the phrase, “God knows”, in reference to a difficult or uncertain situation? I know that, for us anyway, we’ve said it a lot. When we’ve been in car accidents, or when something tragic happens to someone we know, or even if it’s something minor like locking our keys in the car we have often shrugged and said, “Well, God knows. He’ll take care of it.” There is nothing wrong on the surface with a statement like this, it’s just incomplete. Several months ago we decided to change our go to phrase from “God knows” to “God plans”. Of course God knows what is going on in our lives, but it doesn’t catch him off guard and it’s not a mess he has to clean up. God doesn’t just know, he plans, and he does it for his glory and “for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose (plan)” (Romans 8:28)
No one can mess God’s Plans up
There is much to be said about God’s Sovereignty that is beyond the scope of this blog post, but I will say that in the past two years Shane and I have realized what a peaceful relief it is to finally know and believe that God is in control of everything. In Jeremiah 1:5 the Lord speaks to a young Jeremiah about his Sovereign plan for Jeremiah’s life.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:5 ESV)
Amazing! Before Jeremiah was even conceived God knew him, meaning he knew and planned exactly what Jeremiah would be like and the things he would do, and before he was even born God set him apart (consecrated him) to be a prophet to the nations, not just Israel. God was in control of Jeremiah’s life even before he was born. There wasn’t anything Jeremiah could do to mess up God’s plans to use him as a prophet. Yes, he was born with a free will, but like all of us his free will chose sin and rejected God. God’s good and gracious plan, however, was to save Jeremiah and use him for His purposes. Our free will never chooses God, it is always Him who draws us to himself.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…
(John 15:16a ESV, emphasis mine)
Also, in John 6:65, Jesus said,
And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
(John 6:65 ESV)
Plans for His Glory
God is Sovereign over all, not just our situations but our salvation as well. Another well known, often quoted Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare (good) and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
This verse again magnifies the Sovereignty of God in that he doesn’t just “know”, he “plans”. God does have plans for good and for a future and a hope for those whom he draws and they all revolve around the gospel. The gospel brings him glory and the transformational work it does in the lives of those who truly put their faith in Him brings Him much glory as well. God also allows difficulties, troubles, and trials to come into our lives for his purposes and plans. Recently, I read the story of the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night of his betrayal and arrest. The story is found in Matthew 26:17-25 and reveals God’s Sovereignty over situations of deceit, unbelief, and betrayal.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
(Matthew 26:20-25 ESV)
Jesus chose Judas to be a part of his inner circle, part of the twelve, from the beginning. He always knew Judas would betray him and that is why he chose him. Someone needed to betray Jesus in order for prophesy to be fulfilled. It wasn’t a surprise or convenient that it worked out this way, it was providentially arranged ultimately for the good. God allows things to happen that can seem bad but are meant and used for his glory and for the good of those who belong to him. Many will often say, “God can use that bad situation and make it into something good,” which suggests that he didn’t see the bad situation coming, but now that it’s here he can turn it around. Again, God is never caught off guard by our plans, we are caught off guard by his plans.
And this is the realization we came to as a couple two years ago, God is the author of the book, not an editor. He has written it, he doesn’t go through changing things as they happen. He knows and has planned the beginning to the end and we are eternally grateful that he chose to save us and open our eyes to the truth. Let God’s Sovereignty be what brings you peace today, either peace with Him for the first time or peace because of Him and His wise plans.
Preparing the Way,