By Robert Jeffress, pastor, First Baptist Dallas, Texas
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. –Proverbs 16:9
If you have made a big mistake or bad choice, perhaps you have asked some of the following questions about God’s role in your failure:
- If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then did His plan for me include my failure?
- If my failure was part of God’s sovereign plan, then how can God hold me responsible?
- If God’s script for my life has already been written, then does it matter what I do?
These questions have profound implications for understanding how we can have a second act in life. What is God’s role in our past mistakes? This week, we will look at the relationship between God’s sovereignty and our choices.
The most foundational principle is this: God is in control of everything that happens.
God’s sovereignty means that God is in charge of everything that happens in His universe. In Isaiah 45:6, God says, “There is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” God has no competition in this universe. There is nobody He is trying to wrestle control of this universe from.
Many people accept the sovereignty of God in theory, but they have a hard time accepting this truth in specific situations. For example, whenever there is a natural disaster or tragedy, the media often asks me, “Where was God when this happened?” I always answer: “God is still in control, and He is ultimately accountable for everything that happens.” Usually that answer is met by protests: “What about the laws of nature? What about man’s free will? What about Satan’s influence?” They have a point. Many of the problems in the world are attributable to human actions, some are the result of natural forces, and a few can be linked to Satan and his sinister forces of darkness. But ultimately, either God is in control of His creation, or He isn’t.
The truth is this: although God is not directly responsible for bad things that happen, He is ultimately responsible for everything that happens.
If God is in control of everything that happens in the universe, then He is in control of everything that happens in your life as well. That means your divorce, your affair, your lapse of judgment, your squandered opportunities, your failed business venture, your bankruptcy, your poor choices—these do not loosen God’s grip on the direction of your life at all. Your failure is no match for God’s sovereignty.
Excerpted from “Although the Script’s Been Written, You Can Still Improvise” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.