By Joel Comiskey, check out Joel’s latest book, Living in Victory
One of the greatest Roman emperors was Caesar Augustus. He thought he was god and even demanded worship. When he commanded that a census be taken, I’m sure he thought that he and he alone was charting the course of history. But little did he know that God himself was reordering human circumstances to assure transport of his son Jesus from Nazareth to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4). People think they rule and reign. But they are just mere pawns in God’s eternal plan and purpose.
2020 has been a crazy year. The U.S. election caused a lot of friction and turmoil. I found myself becoming emotionally drained and filled with worry over the elections. Wouldn’t that president destroy our country? God, you must give us so and so! I felt like Habakkuk who complained to God about his circumstances. God responded by saying, “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own” (Habakkuk 1:5-6). Habakkuk couldn’t imagine that God would consider using an ungodly nation to fulfill his purpose, so God had to teach him about his sovereignty. Habakkuk had to learn that God controls the nations and governments of the world.
And as I look back as elections have come and gone, I’m grateful for a loving God who is over all. Daniel 2:21 declares, “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” Our times are in his hands and he does reign supreme. We can trust in him.
We can be assured that even when things seem like they are out of control, God knows what he’s doing even in the tragedies of life (e.g., Covid-19, Holocaust, wars, earthquakes, and so forth). We don’t have to get uptight as if God’s throne is vacant. He is actively involved, and this should give us confidence and hope.
Even the greatest tragedy that ever occurred on this earth was completely planned and purposed by almighty God. Jesus reminded the Roman guards who came to arrest him, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54). The great evil that Satan had in mind was directed by God himself.
God controls all circumstances, even the moment all the powers of hell were centered on attacking and destroying God’s Son. The good news is that God even used that event for his glory. If God can turn around the greatest tragedy in world history, can’t he turn around our dark moments for our good and his glory? We also need to constantly remember God’s tenderness and compassion for those who have experienced tragedies (e.g., those who been raped or whose loved one was murdered).
God works on a different level, and we don’t fully comprehend his methods or his ways. But we can trust that he is good and loving. His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). His plan is always perfect and one step ahead of what we’re thinking or planning. We can walk in victory as we believe that his plan and purpose will be accomplished.
As we come to the end of 2020 and look forward to 2021, let’s remember that God is in control. The birth of Jesus reminds us that God is controlling human history and will work all things together for good. Our role is to trust, pray, and allow him to use us.