What comfort do God’s people have in times of war and conflict?

2 Min Read

The comfort God’s people have is a robust doctrine of providence. This may not have been the intent of the question, but I can imagine some folks who are sensitive and have been watching the news—maybe even too much of it—and they’ve seen and read things that have upset them, and now they are fearful. They may even be fearful in a way that Christians ought not to be afraid. Many people may not even be sure what they are afraid of; they are just afraid. In light of this, Christians need a robust doctrine of providence. God is in control.

God orders the end from the beginning. He orders not just good things, but evil things. I have recently been thinking about Peter at Pentecost. When Peter preached that sermon just six weeks after the crucifixion, he told his fellow Jews, “It was you by wicked hands who took Him and slew Him” (Acts 2:23). He told them they were guilty. Some of the people listening to Peter had been there, shouting for Jesus to be crucified: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” But it was all by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Yes, they were responsible for their actions, but none of it happened outside of the decree of God. God knows the end from the beginning. God orders our lives. He holds us in the palms of His hands.

How many times in the Bible does God come and say to His people, “Do not be afraid”? There’s a book in it somewhere. There are dozens and dozens of occasions on which God comes to His people when they are in trouble and says, “Do not be afraid.” If we are in a right relationship with God, we have nothing to fear. That doesn’t mean trials won’t come. That doesn’t mean wars won’t break out. It doesn’t mean we will avoid World War III. I have no idea, but I do know this: God is in control.

There are no blind spots in God’s providence. There are no dead zones. When you travel, there are places where your phone doesn’t work, where you haven’t got a signal. For example, there are parts of South Carolina where I’ve had no signal, and they’ve said to me, “You have to climb that hill over there, and then you might get one or two bars.” But there are no dead zones as far as God’s providence is concerned. You can’t drive on the interstate and think, “From junctions twenty-eight through thirty-two, God isn’t in control; that’s Satan’s territory.” No, God is in complete and utter control.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Derek Thomas and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.