This has to be one of the most quoted verses in Scripture!
In Article 4 of the 24 Articles of the Faith we read:
"Working in nature and in history through the Holy Spirit, God governs all events, ultimately conforming them to a just and loving design. Always and everywhere God acts with a sovereign liberty that has no bounds. Yet God is never in any way the author of sin and never approves of sin; God does not take away the freedom and responsibility of human beings."
This puts it very accurately and succinctly. I'd like to ask you to draw a mental picture with me.
- Draw a big circle
- Draw a smaller circle inside it
- Draw a cross (not an X) that has it's centre in the small circle and its long base extending to the bottom of the big circle and its horizontal arms reaching out into the bigger circle..
The outside circle is what God allows in this world. If anything falls outside of that circle, God would have no ultimate control over it and He would no longer be God. The outside circle is what God allows-but-does-not-necessarily-like. This includes the side-effects of our free-will-sinful behaviour and the broken world we live in.
The inside circle is what God wills-and-likes.
Because of the brokenness of the outside circle, God sent Jesus to bear the guilt and pain of that brokenness. Because of the cross which reaches out into the brokenness, God is able to transform pain into triumph, sorrow into hope, loss into comfort and disappointment into victory. (And the inside circle expands outward!)
This happens as we love Him and co-operate with His purpose.
THIS IS AN AWESOME COMFORT AND VICTORY.
Have an wonderful weekend.