Our sovereign and yet suffering God

By Dave Henning / January 17, 2014

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” – Ephesians 1:11

Discussing the second pair of balancing truths in Chapter 6 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller states that unless we know the truths that God is a sovereign and yet suffering God, suffering will not be meaningful or have any ultimate solution.  He quotes Ronald Rittgers from his book The Reformation of Suffering:

The God of the Bible . . . both suffers with humanity- supremely on the cross- and yet is in some sense also sovereign over suffering.  Both beliefs were (and are) essential to the traditional Christian assertion that suffering ultimately has some meaning and that the triune God is able to provide deliverance from it.”

Pastor Keller goes on to note that the Bible depicts history as 100 percent under God’s purposeful direction, yet at the same time we’re 100 percent responsible for our behavior- as the author underscores:

“God’s plan works through our choices, not around or despite them. . . . God works out his will perfectly through our willing actions.”

While God takes evil seriously as a reality, we can be assured that, in the end, evil can never triumph.

Today’s question: How can you apply the truth’s of God’s sovereignty and suffering to the events and actions surrounding your vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “God’s plans and our plans”


About the author

Dave Henning

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