I love to talk about the sovereignty of God. I love to write about it and preach about it. The sovereignty of God in creation, the sovereignty of God in salvation, the sovereignty of God in evangelism, the sovereignty of God in everything. I love God’s sovereignty, and I’m convinced this is good, because it reflects and describes who God is. He is a sovereign God.
In his sovereignty God has decreed that to this point I will have quite an easy life. I live in a first-world nation and have freedom to be a Christian without fear of persecution. I have never missed a meal or a bill payment, my children are healthy and my marriage is solid. I have a job I love and a hobby that has given me some rare privileges. God’s sovereignty toward me has been expressed in ways that are undeniably good.
I recently preached through the book of Jonah, a book that is meant to be a clear display of God’s sovereignty. “Appoint” is a key word in Jonah. God appoints things that delight the prophet—a giant fish to swallow him when he has very nearly drowned and a plant to shade him when he is hot. God appoints things that infuriate Jonah—a hot wind to scorch him, a worm to destroy the plant that makes him comfortable, and above all, the great awakening in the city of Nineveh. Jonah delighted in God’s sovereignty when he liked the way it impacted him and hated God’s sovereignty when he did not like the way it impacted him. The book ends with a question and I’m convinced that a facet of that question was this: Jonah, will you love my sovereignty even when you don’t see it as good? Or will you trust my sovereignty only when it gives you what you would have chosen anyway?
And as I have been reading the Bible and considering my own life, I think God has been asking me the same kinds of questions. He and I have been conversing in and through the Bible and having a conversation kind of like this:
You’re one of those Reformed people, one of those Calvinists. You say you love my sovereignty. That’s great! But I want to ask you a few things…