Crisis Always Brings Us Closer To God

“But you, O Sovereign Lord, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.” (Psalms 109:21)

I have a friend who had a near-fatal accident several years ago. She was returning home from a church outing in moderate rain when her mini-van began to hydroplane. The vehicle plummeted down a steep embankment, turning over several times. She, and the teenagers who were with her, escaped serious injury in spite of the circumstances.

She knew she was more than lucky and realized their lives had been spared by God’s grace. There was simply no other explanation. In fact, she sensed the presence of God immediately, recalling that it was peace and not fear that met her just after the accident occurred. God’s Word supports her experience: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

Her accident reminded me about the sovereign nature of God. The fact is it really doesn’t matter whether it’s your car or your life that’s tumbling out of control. Crisis often brings us closer to God because it reminds us that he has total control. In other words, all of our hopes and expectations depend upon his mercy and grace. The Apostle James said it more bluntly: “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)

It’s important for us to understand that divine sovereignty does not mean that everything that occurs in the world is God’s will. Solomon, who grew wise from his own mistakes, finally realized, “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

God doesn’t always will the calamity that comes our way, but his will always allows for it. The truth is much of the trouble we experience in life comes because of the freedom he gives us to make choices. “This freedom”, according to one biblical scholar, “means that sovereignty must always be distinguished from ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, the belief that everything that occurs in the world has been predetermined, scheduled in advance by God.” In other words, we’re not puppets in a mechanical universe in which all choices are made in advance and where freedom is not possible.

These near-catastrophes, especially those from which we escape inexplicably unharmed, should remind us of how great God is rather than how lucky we are. However, there’s a much more important lesson that comes from such experiences. Genuine freedom has nothing to do with the ability to do whatever we wish and everything to do with submitting to the sovereign will of God. It’s when we have experienced his greatness that we realize we don’t really have the freedom we thought we had. And that’s when we understand what Paul meant when he said, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Share on Facebook