Wednesday night at 5:30, Steven Curtis Chapman’s 5 year old daughter died tragically in an accident on their driveway. It took no time for the tragic news to spread; Christians all over the world have been grieving with and praying for the family of one of their favorite musicians. Maria Sue Chapman was adopted from China along with two other of his six children.
Many of you may not know this, but Steven’s family is probably the reason that I have two adopted sisters of my own. The Chapman’s love of adoption and vision for other Christians in adoption is used by God everyday. Maria was loved as much as any daughter could be, and having an adopted 5 year old sister, I couldn’t begin to imagine that magnitude of pain felt by Steven, Mary Beth, and the other children. It is a truly horrible tragedy and everyone should keep their family in their prayers.
Even in the midst of such overwhelming sorrow, something must be stood up for, something that I know the Chapmans and their wonderful church in Nashville hold to. The undeniable truth, even through the pain of such an event, is that God is completely sovereign. God is entirely in control and is not the least bit surprised or confused by this.
It seems hard to grasp, and it is. To think that a good God could have his hand in such a catastrophic thing seems impossible to justify. How could a loving God who is in control let such a terrible thing happen? It would seem that either God’s omnipotence or goodness were in question.
Here is the answer, and I stand by it till death. God is completely, entirely in control. Hard as it is to grasp, this is God’s purpose for the Chapman family, and for His glory. It is ultimately good, in ways that we will never understand. Romans 8:28 tells us that God works all things for good, and he is. I know that the Chapmans believe this, and I pray that even in the midst of unbearable pain, we would give God the glory and honor that he is due! The Chapmans, in the midst of the greatest pain any of them have ever felt, have a chance to REALLY MAKE GOD LOOK GLORIOUS!
It is completely understandable to struggle with this. Even Jonathan Edwards said that the supreme sovereignty of God seemed at once to be a “Horrible Doctrine”, but once he saw both in God’s word and in his own experiences that God’s sovereignty gives us a God who is in control of the situation, and working it towards a greater good, rather than a God who is at the mercy of fate, it changed both his ministry and his life.
Do you see the comfort associated with God’s sovereignty? Rather than letting Theodicy lead you to a God who is not in control, and doesn’t even know what will happen, let God’s Sovereignty answer the problem of evil! Are we to be more satisfied if we keep God good in our minds by letting him be distant and uninvolved in our problems, or constantly with us and the author of our lives and faith who will work all things for his Glory and our joy?
Nothing could be more comforting than a God who is in control, and conversely, I couldn’t imagine anything more terrifying than a God who is at the mercy of men and fate.
Samuel Rodigast spoke of both the difficulty in accepting, and comfort of knowing these truths in his hymn “Whate’er My God Ordains is Right”
"Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart
And pain and sorrow shall depart."
Though it seems bitter at the time, knowing that God is sovereign and has his hand in the situation, we need to realize that our finite minds can only see the moment and that God sees the whole picture and is working everything out for his glory and our joy.
It is a horrible thing to see all this. To listen to “Cinderella” is close to impossible, but in the midst of this unspeakable pain, the Chapmans know, and I know, that God is just as in control now as he ever was. Our Sovereign Father was in the same place Wednesday night, that he was when he watched his own son hang on the cross. He was there, involved, completely in control. What could be more comforting?
All Glory in heaven and on earth be to our God
He is enough
He is good
He will take care of us