Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
I simply want to point to the sovereignty of God that is displayed in these verses. Often times, when people find things hard to explain in life, they want to take away God’s sovereign hand. When tragedies strike, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or other such things, there is a school of thought that tries to remove from the event any notion of God being in control. There are plenty of well-meaning believers who will even say that God set events in motion years ago, but does not now control things.
But, if we believe the word of God to be true, then we also need to recognize that God’s sovereign hand is over all things. God is in control, even when things happen that are impossible for us to enjoy or understand. As Jeremiah tells us here, it is from the hand of God that both good and bad come.
Now, this does not make God evil simply because he does things that we can not explain. God has a plan that involves eternity. None of us can grasp how high is this plan. It is right, it is good, and it will be accomplished. And I do not pretend to understand all of the reasons why God allows certain things to happen and why God puts a stop to other things. I do not know why God allows some of us to have wonderful and easy lives while others suffer greatly. I do not know why God allows an earthquake to level one town and leave another unscathed. But I know this: God is good and God is in control. It would be a dishonor to God for me to ever pretend before any person in the world that God was not in control of all events, good and bad.
You and I may not be able to explain why things happen. We ought not even try. But we need to keep these verses in Lamentations available in our minds. Though things may not make sense to us, one explanation that God will not allow us is an explanation that says that he has no control over the bad things that happen in life. Such an explanation offers no comfort, as it depicts a weak little deity who can not stop bad things even though he might really like to . Such a picture is not the picture of the God of the Bible, and thus we may never use such an explanation to try to offer comfort. Instead, we must learn to find comfort in the fact that God is in control, he is good, and he has a purpose for all things. He will bring all events together for ultimate good(Romans 8:28). He is fully wise, and thus understands the reasons that he does things when we could never grasp such reasons. And, he has the full and eternal perspective on matters, a perspective that we will only truly see on the other side of this life.