God Is

Day 41

God Is Sovereign
and God is Good

Read your Bible: Romans 8:28–31

Spotlight Verse:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28

Terry was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met.

In a previous book, Thrill Ride, I told the story of how I ran into her. I was speaking at a family camp when I first witnessed her enthusiastically greeting people walking into the chapel. Here’s what I saw: A young woman with symptoms of very severe cerebral palsy. Both legs and her right arm were tied to her wheelchair — apparently because she could no longer control them. Even her left arm flailed wildly in the air as she said hello to the camp guests.

When I heard Terry speak, I could barely understand her because of the thick cerebral palsy “accent.” She’d smile her crooked smile at each person who entered as she said, “G-G-G-G-G-OOD M-M-M-M-ORNING!!! H-H-HOW A-A-A-RE Y-Y-Y-YOU?” Every sentence was laborious for her.

Yet, along with everyone else at the camp, I fell in love with this young woman who radiated a rare joy in Christ.

But then came the talent show. The second-to-last night of camp, anyone who signed up could perform on the auditorium stage. Little kids played piano. A teenager showed off some amazing musical skill on the viola. There was an adorable preschool dance troupe. And finally the emcee introduced the last act:

“Will you please welcome our friend Terry, who will wrap it all up for us with a song!”

And my heart sank. I thought, “Oh, no. Poor Terry. She’s just going to embarrass herself and make this a very awkward moment for all of us.”

The host continued, “And her talent is… she will lead us in worship!” My heart sank even further. How could Terry, who could barely speak, possibly do this? I say this to my shame, because I was being very shallow.

So Terry was wheeled up on stage. The emcee adjusted a microphone on a boom so it aimed at her mouth. She shouted “OK-K-KAY!!!” to the sound man, who started a musical background track for the tune she was about to sing.

And I could tell from the melody what song it was.

“God is so good.”

And I thought, this? Of all the songs she could have chosen, Terry is singing this? I’d always associated this old chorus with a somewhat superficial view of life. How can she possibly sing these lyrics with any enthusiasm after all the hard knocks she’s had?

But as the music played, she tilted back her head to heaven, looked up, and as tears streamed down her face she sang with gusto,

HE’S S-S-S-O G-G-G-GOOD T-T-TO M-M-M-ME!!!!!!”

And in an instant, everyone who could stand, stood. Those who couldn’t stand, lifted hands to heaven, and those who couldn’t do that, tilted their faces back like Terry. And also like her, we were all weeping. With pure joy. At the goodness of God.

I’ve been in a lot of worship services in my life, but never one that rocketed the whole congregation directly into a sense of the presence of God like the one led by Terry.55

How could she sing “God is so good”? Because she knew an important truth about God.

He is sovereign. But that alone is not necessarily comforting — there have been evil sovereigns. Terry knew: God is good.

God promises her, and you, too, that although you may never see it in this lifetime, He will redeem every one of your trials on earth, and will one day restore you, both physically and spiritually.

Walk through today’s key verse with me:

“We know…” This is a truth we can cling to with certainty.

“…God works…” He’s the one who makes it happen. I don’t need to worry if I don’t have a plan. He’s the one who turns it around.

“…all things…” Even a divorce? Even an infant death? Even something that was my own stupid mistake? Yes, even that. I’m not saying He caused all of it directly. But I am saying He permits it, and can work through it.

“…for good… according to His purpose.” God has a purpose: Romans 8:28 doesn’t really make sense without Romans 8:29, which explains that God’s plan is to make you like Jesus.

If you really believe this — that your loving God is in control — it’ll make your confidence soar!

Because there’s nothing God can’t turn into gold.

No mistake He can’t turn into a masterpiece.

No problem He can’t turn around and use for good.

In fact, I believe your greatest ministry will come from your greatest pain. Terry was the most effective worship leader I have ever experienced, and she can barely speak! It was her pain that gave her testimony such credibility.

But how exactly does the Romans 8:28 promise happen, even when everything seems to be going wrong? We’ll spend some more time in Romans 8 tomorrow!

God is… sovereign, and God is good.

Questions For Reflection

How can there be so much suffering if God truly exists? Some believe there are only two explanations: Either God is not sovereign, or God is not good. How would you respond to that argument?

Give to God your pain and worries and shame now; ask Him to help you trust that He will, by His grace, work together all things, even these things, for good.