If we are laying our heads on any pillow in these days, it is the pillow of God’s character, and especially God’s goodness. We keep saying it: “God is good.” We may be saying it with sorrow and bewilderment and something less than full faith. We might be saying it as a question: “God is good, right?” But we are saying it. We don’t necessarily understand how God is good in this, or why taking our son is consistent with his goodness, but we know it must be. If Nick’s death was not a lapse in God’s sovereignty, it was also not a lapse in his goodness. If there was no moment in which God stopped being sovereign there is no moment in which he stopped being good—good toward us, good toward Nick, good according to his perfect wisdom. God can’t not be good.
“The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.” So said the inimitable Charles Spurgeon. Or did he? He might have said, “When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” Or maybe he said both, or maybe he said something halfway between. Either way, it’s clear that in Spurgeon’s dark hours he found comfort in a particular attribute of God: his sovereignty.
Sovereignty speaks to power and the right to reign. Gregg Allison says it’s “the divine attribute of being all-powerful as the King and Lord who exercises supreme rule over all creation.” He goes on to explain that this supreme rule includes, among other things, God’s decrees regarding “creation, providence, redemption, and consummation; the infallible, meticulous outworking of that plan in each and every aspect of it; and the sure salvation of genuine Christians.” God’s sovereignty is a sweeping doctrine that touches every aspect of life across every moment of creation and every corner of the universe. There is no moment, no spot, no deed, no death that falls outside of it.
God’s sovereignty has, indeed, offered comfort in these dark days. It has assured us that there was no earthly power, no demonic power, no power above or below, that had its way with our boy, that interrupted and superseded God’s plan for him. There was no moment in which God turned his back, or got distracted with other affairs, or nodded off to sleep. There was no medical deformity or genetic abnormality (or whatever else could cause a young man to collapse and die) that had been overlooked by God. God’s sovereignty has assured us that it was ultimately no one’s will but God’s that Nick lived just 20 short years. Young Nick, like old Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him.