I love the line from Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” It’s a delightful way of echoing the cliché, “Life is full of surprises.” Some of those surprises are good ones; some are not so pleasant. Yet through it all, we are loved and cared for by a God who is never surprised.
God is sovereign! Nothing ever “happens” to you that catches God by surprise. To be sure, we are often surprised, but God never is. There are simply no events in our lives that do not first pass through His outstretched arms and nail-scarred hands.
Isn’t that a comfort to you today? This knowledge sustained Joseph during a most difficult and “surprising” time in his life. He forgave his brothers, who had thrown him down an empty well and then sold him into slavery, saying,
“It was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” (Genesis 45:8)
From the time he was 17 years old through age 30, Joseph received one “bad” surprise after another: hated by his brothers for telling the truth . . . falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife . . . forgotten by an ungrateful cupbearer. Then came a different kind of surprise: in one day, Joseph was raised from the prison to the palace.
Joseph undoubtedly was surprised by these dramatic changes, but deep down in his heart he knew that God was not. He understood that it was by God’s hand that he experienced both desolation and deliverance. Joseph fully understood the sovereignty of God and recognized that the stuff of life is not a random roll of the dice, but all part of God’s perfect plan.
Can the same be said about you today? Looking back over your life, can you think of a time that stands out as a season of struggle? A time when it seemed like God was either sleeping or on vacation? I certainly remember such times, and that is why, as has been so profoundly said, life needs to be lived backwards. It’s hard to see God in the storms that blow our way sometimes, but when we look back, we can see His handprints all over those trials. God not only sends the storms, He is in the middle of them with us!
The sovereignty of God means there is a gracious purpose for our lives; and that purpose is being rightly accomplished, even in every painful providence. We may not see it at the time, but we can be assured that nothing ever catches our God by surprise. He is working all things together for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
Sovereignty means that everything in our lives happens for a reason . . . and that reason has been in the mind of God from all eternity—a God who loved you so deeply that He sent His beloved Son to die on a cross for you.
There are no surprises, because we are secure in God’s sovereignty.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!