As Christians, we must make a choice, is God sovereign or is man sovereign. At first glance, and without much thought, many Christians would say God is sovereign (and I would agree). However, those same Christians would then argue that man has a free will and argue that God does not ordain the actions of man. If that is the case, then your theological position is that man is sovereign, not God.
The reason that many Christians say one thing, but actually believe the other is that when the question is posed with no qualifiers, it seems painfully obvious that God is sovereign, isn’t that the definition of God…sovereignty? And once again, I would agree with that statement. However, the problem then arises when we start to think about the implications of such a position. To be sovereign means to have control. Control over what? Well, control over everything. What about the bad stuff? Yes the bad stuff too…even the bad stuff at the hands of evil man.
What is interesting is that when the Bible speaks of difficulties, trials, tribulations, suffering, persecution it is not uncommon for the Scriptures to remind us of God’s sovereignty. We see this very clearly in 1 Peter 4:19, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
The suffering that Peter is speaking about is not general in nature, it is specific. It is described a few verses earlier as a fiery trial, and being insulted for the name of Christ, and suffering because you are a Christian. And Peter wants us to know that this is God’s will. God desires that his children should suffer at the hands of evil men.
The glory of God.
Verse 14 says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” And verse 16, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
This means that our suffering has a purpose. First, we suffer because of Christ living in us. Second we suffer so that we can display God’s glory by enduring as Christ endured. Our pain has a purpose. It is ordained by God to display His glory through our endurance.
This reality, that God has ordained suffering for a purpose, leads us to one conclusion. Trust God. The trials in your life are not random, God is in control. He is doing something…something glorious.