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Question 173

Q: I’m struggling with the concept of God’s sovereignty. I’ve always thought that God had plan A, or B, or C, depending on what I chose in a given situation.

But I heard you explain sovereignty as God knowing ALL things, being in charge of ALL things, and having the power over ALL things regardless of me or my decisions.

Several years ago my grandson Joshua died at the age of 3-1/2. We prayed for his healing after numerous surgeries on his lungs, heart, and brain. My own healing began when I accepted that God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, chose to call him home. 

But my minister said to me that he believes that Joshua died not due to God’s sovereign will (which I can accept), but that the devil interfered and has “stolen” Joshua without God’s hand in it. He does say, however, that God will use this for His purpose at some point.  

To me though, the difference is critical and not just superficial. Please help! 

Asked by: Marilyn

A: Marilyn, you’re absolutely right, the difference is critical, not superficial.

I hate to say this over the radio because I don’t know your minister, but I do believe that he’s wrong. I don’t believe that it was a case of Satan stealing your grandson. Instead, I believe it’s correct to say that God took him home.

On one level of course, there’s a sense in which Satan is involved in these things. Because he’s involved in sin, he’s no doubt involved in sickness. We have an illustration from the book of Job. Was Job’s trial from God or the devil? On the one hand, it was from the devil—he did the dirty work. He’s the one that caused the wind storm, he’s the one who gave Job boils. But nonetheless, because the devil is under God’s control and direction, and can only do what God allows him to, Job clearly understood that this trial came to him from God. Job said, “the Lord gave and the Lord took away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” He didn’t mention the devil.

Job is your model. You have to say it’s the Lord who took your grandson. It wasn’t cancer or disease—that might have been the secondary cause—but the ultimate cause was the will of God.

I’m so interested to notice that in your question you say that you accepted the will of God and it was easier for you to accept when you believed that God took him for a reason. Thanks Marilyn, I’m so glad that even though sorrow is deep and lasting, thank God it doesn’t last forever—hang on to that. God is in control, and someday you’ll see your grandson again.

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