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For me, a great strength of the reformed/Presbyterian churches has been the emphasis on the soverignity of God. Psalm 146.20 The Lord will reign forever. Proverbs 8.15 By me kings reign. Revelation 19.6 For The Lord our God the Almighty reigns. The hymns also reinforce that God really is in charge ( How Firm a Foundation, Be Still my Soul, O Love that will not let me go, etc...).

On my better days, I really do filter whatever happens to me through that fact. So when I think someone is trying to harm me, I remember that God will get revenge on them, so I do not need to do that. Furthermore, both the good and the bad others do to me, works together for my good since I love God, as Romans 8.38 promises. So God rewards those who love and obey him, and he takes vengeance on the rest, so I can leave whatever happens in his hands. Of course I do not always do that, but when I do I have great peace and no worries.

I am sure God has called me to preach, and much of that now is through writing. So I consider both pleasant and unpleasant things(and people) that happen to me to be his way of molding me into his image. Long years of singleness, over 15 years of marriage, plenty and want, health and loss of it, are part of his plan for me. And the same is true for you. God opens and closes doors, Revelation 3 teaches us, he sets one up and brings another one down. We can debate how much we can resist his will, but all Christian churches agree that God calls all of us to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus Christ as God and Lord. We may have scars from our sins, but Saint Augustine taught that even our sins bring glory to Jesus Christ because of his soverignity.

Is this then a reason to sin? No, not at all.When a person is truly Christisn, the Holy Spirit remains with us to convict us deeply when we sin. So if a person can do the opposite of what the Bible teaches and not be made miserable by the Holy Spirit, we can be certain that person is not Christian. But for the Christian, it is wonderful to be convicted of sin, for then we know how to repent and to return to fellowship with the living God.

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