Devotionals by Chuck Swindoll

Today's Insight from Chuck Swindoll


Surprising Sovereignty

All the time Haman was having the gallows built, he could see—enthusiastically anticipate—Mordecai impaled there. Now he is condemned to die there himself. We call this irony. Theologians call it sovereignty. I call it God's surprising sovereignty!

I can remember a time early on in my ministerial training when the sovereignty of God was frightening to me. Not understanding its implications as fully as I do now some thirty-five years later, I felt it would make me passive and virtually irresponsible. Furthermore, I feared what it would do to my theology of evangelism. If I really threw myself into this doctrine, God could become a distant deity, sort of a celestial brute, pushing and maneuvering His way through nameless humanity, as He did what He pleased to get what He wanted. I could see my zeal waning and my passion for souls drained to the point of indifference.

Through a series of events far too numerous and complicated to describe, I've come to realize that, rather than being frightened by God's sovereignty, I'm comforted in it. Since He alone is God, and since He, being God, "does all things well" and in doing them has only good as His goal, how could I do anything but embrace it?

Does that mean I can explain it? No, only rarely, when hindsight yields insight. Does that mean I always anticipate it? No, like you, I occasionally rush to judgment or respond in panic, wondering why He is so silent, allowing wrong to run its course so long. But looking back in more reasonable moments, with my emotions under better control (Hiscontrol!), I can see what He was about. I can even see why He delayed, or why He acted when He did. Usually, I freely admit, I think He is awfully slow (I can't number the times I've pleaded, "O God, please hurry up!"), and I am usually surprised, though I shouldn't be, at how beautifully things work out, right on time.

In the final analysis, God is God, and He will have His way when He pleases and for His glory. What could be better than that? In all the mystery of His waiting and working, and in the wrong of our doing and undoing, He can still be trusted. The main thing is that you and I remain sensitive to those moments when He finally breaks the silence and suddenly intervenes on our behalf. At least to us it seems sudden. To Him, it happened exactly as He had planned it all along.

Frightened by God's sovereignty? Take comfort in knowing He does all things well.

— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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About Insight for Living

Insight for Living is the Bible-teaching ministry of author and pastor Charles R. Swindoll. Insight for Living is committed to excellence in communicating biblical truth and its application.

About Chuck Swindoll

Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God's Word. Since 1998, he has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck's listening audience extends far beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs in major Christian radio markets around the world, reaching people groups in languages they can understand. Chuck's extensive writing ministry has also served the body of Christ worldwide and his leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

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