Eusibius (265-339 AD) wrote the first post-apostolic history of the church. Until Eusibius’ day, the church had been under fierce persecution and the luxury to sit down in the ivory tower and write was not available. However, in 312 Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, and in 313, declared the Edict of Milan, granting religious toleration to Christians. The persecutions were over, and Eusibius, as bishop of Caesarea, had time to write (in fact, as a close advisor to Constantine, Eusibius was asked by the Emperor to write the history). Anyway, to the point. Throughout The History, Eusibius’ mind is never far from the theme of God’s sovereignty in the story. Stuart W. Bryan says, “For Eusibius, God’s sovereignty is exhaustive.” For example, Eusibius “acknowledges time and time again that God is the one permitting the horrendous persecutions being perpetrated against the church. God brings it about and brings it to an end in His time and for His good and purposes.” In his own words, Eusibius says,
“The rulers of this life would never find it easy to attack the churches of Christ, unless the hand that champions us allowed this…”
What if I were as mindful of God’s sovereignty over my story (which actually is just part of his bigger story since my mini-narrative fits within God’s meta-narrative)? If God were just a capricious power, or a being without emotion of care for the individuals under his providential weaving of history, this doctrine would create a great deal of dread in the heart. However, in his sovereignty, this God entered the story and willingly suffered a horrendous penalty to rescue his people from sin and death, by his becoming sin and experiencing death. The God who is sovereign over my story is not a God of just power and authority, but of grace and love—both of which have been amazingly demonstrated in the cross of Jesus. That is why God’s sovereignty in the story does not cause dread, but hope, peace and joy, even in the difficult things and on the hard days. Granted, this is so much easier to write than to live. So I pray that I will live “close to the cross,” being thankful for the days of peace, and hopeful in the days of pain.