Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Football Games, Elections and Providence

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm
Deep in His dark and hidden mines
With never-failing skill
He fashions all His bright designs
And works His sovereign will
So God we trust in You
O God we trust in You
O fearful saints new courage take
The clouds that you now dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face
So God we trust in You
O God we trust in You
When tears are great
And comforts few
We hope in mercies ever new
We trust in You
God’s purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain
- Bob Kauflin, God Moves, original words by William Cowper

"God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."
–The Westminster Confession of Faith, 3:1

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
-Proverbs 21:1

To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy until they run over.
–Thomas Watson, All Things for Good

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
– Romans 8:28

In some quarters there’s some question as to my the depth of my masculinity. Truth be known; I’m not a big sports fan. I can recognize the difference between a football and a basketball, but much beyond that I get into trouble in a hurry. I prefer any motorized sport with two wheels. In fact, I’ve never met a motorcycle I didn’t like. However, last Sunday afternoon I watched a football game and I felt obligated to root for the underdog. I had heard the predictions and had seen points spread. There was talk of this being just another blowout in a perfect string of wins. In case you hadn’t heard, it wasn’t. Fast forward to ‘Super Tuesday’ and the posturing continued. The political bluster was at full gale and there’s more yet to come. At times it feels like an verbal tsunami, only it’s all hurricane wind, with no substance. I received news this week of a friend’s mom passing and another friend is in critical condition at a local hospital.

Who will win the election? Does the outcome of football game just happen? Is history a random succession of events that has little or no bearing on anything at all. Do the events of life have meaning? Is God really sovereign? Is anyone really in control? Or are football games, elections, and the everyday happenings of life being orchestrated for God’s glory and our good? Paul’s words to the Corinthians bring a great deal of comfort to the Christian, especially when it seems that things are out of control. Take comfort, everything is orchestrated for God’s glory and our good. Evil itself must bow to God’s sovereign purposes. In fact, the most evil event in history is the source of greatest blessing for the Christian. Evil men did evil things in crucifying the Son of God. And God used this supremely heinous act for His incomparable glory and our incomparable good. If He purposes to use this supreme evil for His glory and our good will He not surely use all the seeming random events of our lives for the same? These are not the musings of a fatalist. This is the testimony of Scripture. From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, God is the Sovereign King who rules and over-rules the events of history, including my history. And the comforting thing is that every professing believer can know that God’s sovereign rule has his or her good in mind. This helps me when I’m tempted to fear and anxiety. When I look at the political landscape this helps me. When I think about the future this helps me. When I think about my health, or my family, or my finances, or my granchildren, it helps me. I’m not relegated to being a pawn in a cosmic chess match. I have a Father that counts my worth far greater than sparrows. In my sin, finitude, and lack of clarity I may not see all of the ramifications of the events of my life now, but it is true nonetheless.

Thanking God with you for God’s sovereign rule.

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