During your Bible study, you’ve probably come to understand that God Almighty is omnipotent, meaning He is all-powerful.
He is written as such in scripture, as Ephesians 1:11 reminds us: “All things are according to the counsel of His will.”
This can bring a grand sense of calm and steadfastness at certain times in our lives, but also an even greater sense of confusion and discomfort during others.
Our loving God may be the driving factor behind that big raise, your newest family member, or any other blessing. But does that also mean he is the cause of loss, natural disaster, and war?
In this article, we’re going to turn to the scriptures to find answers to these important questions and put your mind, and your faith, at ease.
As the Bible teaches us, God indeed can influence everything as the grand creator of our world. But it is the ability that he possesses, and not always the will.
We can look to Genesis as an example of the difference between ability and will.
God created man to live in the Garden of Eden to guard the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which bore the forbidden fruit.
Betraying God’s instructions not to eat the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were convinced by a serpent to do so on an occasion we now refer to as the ‘original sin.’ This set the stage for man as an animal that has a desire to sin.
It is the responsibility of man to resist the allure of sin, represented in Genesis by the serpent. Those who do so will be rewarded with eternal salvation in Heaven.
So, it is clear that God can create the conditions around us, but He will not interfere with our own actions. He has given us free will in order to test our nature.
But to what extent then is God responsible for the things that test us and our ability to remain faithful? We must look to the Bible to find the answers.
Let’s take a look at specific scriptures in the Bible that teach us about God’s power in our lives:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, the Lord proclaimed. As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
In life, things can happen that can truly test your faith. It is often said that ‘God works in mysterious ways,’ which we hold to be true.
If we express gratitude to God for giving us gifts of life, joy, and blessings (which we indeed should), it can be just as easy to be upset with Him for moments of tragedy.
But look at this passage in Isaiah again. ‘So are my ways higher than your ways.’
God has foreknowledge and a grand plan far more intricate and broad than we can even begin to comprehend. It’s possible that instances of pain and loss serve a higher purpose that we are unaware of.
You can use that knowledge to strengthen your faith instead of weakening it.
Additionally, the existence of sin at all is decidedly a human problem.
We know that sin exists as an instrument for God to test our goodness. So, we mustn't always look to God when searching for someone to blame for tragedy — we must sometimes look to man.
What then should we make of illness and disability?
Psalm 73:62 provides some reassurance in this area with the following words: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Our existence on this Earth as human beings is only a small slice of what’s to come, according to the Bible.
The righteous will live an eternity in the presence of God in the afterlife. So, even if your ‘flesh and heart’ are struck with weakness or ill-health, take comfort in the fact that this is only relevant for the material realm.
In the Kingdom of Heaven, you will be eternally liberated from ailments of the physical body.
If you’re looking to ease your anxieties about the extent to which God is in control, there may be no better passage than Philippians 4:6-7:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”
God listens to your prayers and appreciates your gratitude. Not everything you are confronted with will be within the power of your understanding.
Just feel His presence and understand that He is here for you.
It’s natural to be curious about the far-reaching powers of God, as awesome a thing it is.
But don’t lose sight of the simple notion that He created everything before us. And, He gave us the power of the Holy Spirit in order to overcome the things that can disrupt our paths.
Every single occurrence, from the material to the metaphysical, exists in accordance with His plan. We cannot change it, and we cannot influence it. We can only perform our duty as Christians to live righteously and trust that everything else will fall into place.
“All the inhabitants of the Earth are accounted as nothing, and He does what He wills with the host of Heaven and the inhabitants of the Earth. There is no one who can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Daniel 4:35).
Omnipotence is an incredible thing to behold.
But we must acknowledge that the concept itself is beyond our grasp. The Bible is clear that everything we see, everything we are, and everything that will happen is a result of His doing. God is in control of all things.
We should express gratitude for the gifts we’ve received and know that every event, from the unfortunate to the divine, is part of God’s plan.