“Sovereign Lord … truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” Acts 4:27,28
Last Sunday, November 5, 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley, an ex-US Air Force airman, began shooting through the windows of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He then proceeded to enter the church, walking up and down the aisles, murdering people as he went. Children who couldn’t stop crying were shot at point blank range. At the writing of this article, the death count stands at 26 people, including 8 children and one unborn child.
How does a believer make sense of such carnage and such tragedy? Isn’t our God Sovereign? Could he not then have stopped such a heinous act? And is not our God a God of love? Where is His love in that event? The Pastor of that church, Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his own daughter in the tragedy, admitted to not having all the answers. When he was asked by a reporter, “What do you tell the other grieving families?” he responded through tears, “I’m still working on that.” And yet this Pastor knew enough to counsel people to lean on the Lord. “Whatever life brings to you – lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding. I don’t understand, but I know my God does and that’s where I’ll leave it at.”
In those simple words is a recognition of God’s sovereignty, and a desire to trust Him through the darkness. In the verses above, the believers pray to God, and address God as, “Sovereign Lord”. And then they remind us of a greater tragedy, the greatest injustice this world has ever seen! The Lord of glory was crucified at the hands of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the peoples of Israel! And yet, these believers can confess with confidence, that those wicked men could only do “whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place”! God is still sovereign and He is still love! Hallelujah!
May that be our confidence in circumstances that we do not understand, and may we lean increasingly on the Lord. “I don’t understand, but I know my God does and that’s where I’ll leave it at.”