Andrew Stoecklein was married to Kayla and father of their three small boys. He was also pastor of a thriving megachurch in California.
Last Saturday, he took his own life.
His wife has now posted a remarkable tribute to her husband. I hope you’ll read it in its entirety. She closes: “Until we meet again I will cling to my Father in heaven. He will carry me through every second, every minute, every hour of every day.” She continues to say of God, “He has got this.”
Why do you need to trust your Father’s sovereignty today?
A message from a 120-year-old chapel
I was walking in our neighborhood recently and passed a wooden chapel built in the 1890s. A nearby cemetery houses the remains of Civil War veterans. Over the chapel stood the moon, estimated by scientists to be 4.53 billion years old. In front of me was the morning sunrise.
This thought occurred to me: God is sovereign over all of this.
He was sovereign when this chapel was constructed 120 years ago. It witnessed World War I, in which my grandfather fought and during which his family despaired of his life. It witnessed World War II, in which my father fought and during which his family despaired of his life.
It witnessed the Cold War, during which I participated as a child in bomb drills in case we were attacked. It witnessed the Vietnam War, during which I had friends whose brothers fought in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
It witnessed 9/11, the most horrific terror attack in American history. It witnessed the Great Depression and the Great Recession. During each period of great calamity, Christians came to worship in that wooden chapel in the belief that their God was sovereign. And they were right.
Now it’s our turn. What does the sovereignty of God mean for us, in practical terms?
One: Our God is so sovereign that he can be present in our darkest hours.
Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). David could pray with gratitude, “In your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
Scripture assures us: “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Jesus tells us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Have you opened the door to your Savior today?
Two: Our God is so sovereign that he can meet our needs by his grace.
Before I left home for a summer term as a college missionary in East Malaysia, my pastor gave me a devotional book in which he inscribed the words, “There will be deserts in your Christian pilgrimage, but God will provide streams to supply your needs, for the will of God never leads where the grace of God cannot sustain.”
Paul assured us, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). This is why we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Have you brought your need to the throne of grace today?
Three: Our God is so sovereign that he redeems all he allows.
I often restate this principle because I think we need to be reminded often of its truth. Because our Father is sovereign, he must allow or cause all that happens (Matthew 10:29). Because he is love, he must want only what is best for us (1 John 4:8). He therefore redeems for greater good all that he allows or causes.
We may not see or understand God’s redemption on this side of heaven, but one day we will (1 Corinthians 13:12). In the meantime, we can rest in the fact that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
Where do you need the redemption of God?
“Secularism sucks hope out of a society”
Pastor and author Max Lucado was asked why suicide rates are rising and so many people are feeling anxious. He replied: “My hunch on this is that we are seeing the fruits of a secular society. When we raise up a generation of people and tell them that all of life is just what they can see, what they can touch and what they can hear–in other words–there’s no transcending power, there’s no good God overseeing the affairs of mankind–you remove that from society–my feeling is that creates a discouraged society.”
He added that “secularism sucks hope out of a society.”
In days like these, our joyful trust in God’s sovereignty can be our most powerful witness. When Kayla Stoecklein says of God, “He has got this,” her faith resonates across the culture.
Your Father is still on the throne of the universe. Is he on the throne of your heart?For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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Publication Date: August 30, 2018
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Debby Hudson