This past Sunday, I was honored to preach at Shady Grove Baptist Church at Prescott. My message focused on the fact that God is always in control. It’s really a good idea for the preacher to preach to himself! As I pondered the message, I was just thinking how nothing surprises God! I knew that, but sometimes it is good to be reminded of things we already know.
Because God is sovereign, there is no one and no thing above Him. Because of His divine characteristics of omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience, He has power over everything. He is ever-present with everything, and — here’s the real eye-opener — He is ever aware of every circumstance, whether it has to do with nature, nations or individuals.
• Calamity doesn’t surprise God. Often when I read of or watch on TV the report of terrible storms wiping out entire subdivisions, I hurt for the families and communities. Invariably, someone will say, “Why didn’t God stop this?” or “Why did God allow this to happen?” Such a response is due to anger and despair. But then a family being interviewed may say, “We lost everything, but God spared our lives.” And then they go on to say, “We are so glad God was in control.” Calamity is awful, but how uplifting it is to hear those affected publicly express the goodness of the God who is always in control, knowing that He was in no way surprised when the storms occurred.
• Conflict doesn’t surprise God. “Why do we have to have wars?” is another question that is often heard. The intellectual may think that after all these years on earth mankind ought to be able to live in harmony, no matter the nation of focus. Some actually thought Russia and its penchant for war was no longer a threat. People were actually surprised at how that nation has risen to the forefront of troublemaking again. But, my friends, God was not!
Rest assured, God is still in control! From the earliest of times, nations have risen against other nations and wars have raged throughout history. The Bible even tells us that in the last days there will be wars and even more rumors of wars. That in itself tells us that God is not surprised by what happens day to day, month to month, year to year or decade to decade. He is omniscient. He already knows, and He is in control!
• Change doesn’t surprise God. At my age, I have seen so much change, not just in the U.S. but all around the world. We see changes in medicine, education, home life, communities and definitely in morals. The attire of people in public has changed dramatically in my lifetime.
The judicial system has changed. The attitude toward substance abuse has changed. Even the perspective about when life begins and gender identity has changed. I mentioned education previously. Education is one of the most important aspects of life in our country and around the globe, but it can also be lacking. God’s Word says of the attitudes of the last days that people will be “always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth” (II Tim. 3:7).
I’ll admit that, as a human, I wrestle with how things have changed. I am surprised that things have actually gotten worse rather than better. But God is not surprised! He said these things would come to pass. That’s because He is omniscient.
• Criticism doesn’t surprise God. We live in a time where people blatantly criticize a belief in a divine Creator. Not only do they criticize our belief, but they criticize the God in Whom they do not even believe. But we should not be surprised. Even when our Lord walked this earth He did so amid calamity, conflict, change and definitely criticism. Jesus was continually criticized by the Pharisees. They especially attacked His teaching, considering Him to be delusional.
We should not be surprised in 2022 that believers will fall prey to criticism by not just those who do not believe, but also by those who profess to be believers. Paul wrote to Titus, “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8).
We may be surprised by all that is occurring around the world, but our Sovereign God is not. He is always aware, and He’s always in control — of nature, of nations, of humanity and destiny. We serve an awesome God!
I leave you with this — what God plans, He purposes; what He purposes, He performs. “The Lord has sworn ‘Surely, as I have planned, so will it be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand” (Isa. 14:27). Because He is the Sovereign Lord, He can plan, purpose and perform whatever He wants, however He wants, wherever He wants and whenever He wants. He is God… and there is no one else!