Trusting the Wise and Sovereign Hand of God
“For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.” Galatians 1:13-17
Believers heard the name “Saul of Tarsus” and trembled in fear. This man was zealous for Judaism and zealous to destroy anyone who came against it. He held coats for men to stone Stephen to death (Acts 7:54-8:2) and breathed death threats himself (Acts 9:1). But God did not leave Saul here. God literally stopped Saul on his path of persecution and changed his heart to love Christ and His followers (Acts 9:1-31).
This wasn’t a last minute decision by God. God knew as He knit Saul together in His mother’s womb, He would use him to be a foundational part for spreading the Gospel and building the church.
Some may look at this and think, “Why, God? If you knew that this is how you were going to use him, why did You allow him to continue on in such depravity, hurting Your church for so long?” This is the sovereignty and wisdom of God. We don’t always understand His ways because they are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Our thinking is simplistic compared to the Almighty God.
He had a greater purpose in allowing Saul to continue on his hardness. What a glorious picture of God’s grace in saving someone as hateful and murderous as Saul. What a hope this gives us when we consider the depravity of those we love so dearly.
Trials and suffering will arise that we will not understand. Life is going to twist and turn in such a way that we can’t see the goodness and glory at the end. We may even think, “Why, God? Why did you allow this to continue on so long? Why did you wait to act?” In those times, we must trust the sovereignty and wisdom of God.
Thank you, God, for Your wisdom. You are wiser than any person, including me. Your ways are higher than my own, and Your thoughts higher than mine. I can’t understand what You are doing right now...I can’t see the goodness or the wisdom in it, but I want to trust Your wise actions. Help me to rest in Your sovereignty and wisdom and to set aside my foolish ways. Amen.
Joseph is another example in which we can see the sovereign and wise hand of God at work. Joseph probably couldn’t recognize it at first, but he persevered and saw in the end that God’s plan was much better. Take some time to read his story in Genesis 37-50 and note for how God’s sovereignty and wisdom are evident.