The province of Quebec celebrated the gift of democracy earlier this week with a provincial election. Most Canadians probably paid little attention to the process, but when the outcome was announced, we all took note: the Parti Quebecois was elected to a minority government. (For those outside Canada who may read this, what that essentially means is that, because three major parties had candidates elected, no one party won a sufficient number of seats to be able to win a legislative vote without at least some assistance from representatives in one or both of the other parties.)
The Pequistes are probably not fully understood by those outside Quebec. What most of us think of when we think of the PQ is a desire for some form of separation from the rest of Canada, whether it be sovereignty-association (as put forth by Rene Levesque in earlier days) or out-and-out separation as a completely different country. Either way, we tend to think that the news may not be good for this unique little federation we call our home and native land. There is more to this political movement and the party that represents it. Nevertheless, its election leaves us on edge.
The word sovereignty doesn’t get much use anymore, outside of two fields: a nation asserting its right (such as Canada does in the arctic) and theology. The church – especially the Reformed tradition – talks about God’s sovereignty. The idea is this: if God really is God, then by definition he must be sovereign – that is, God must be the supreme ruler of the universe. Encompassed in God’s sovereignty is his omnipotence (God is all-powerful), his omnipresence (God is everywhere), and his omniscience (God knows all). After all, we reason, if God does not embody all of these characteristics, then he ceases to be God, and some other being must be God instead.
I take great comfort in the sovereignty of God. I know by this that I am not in ultimate control, but God is. I know by this that God has a plan for the world in the same way he has a plan for my life. When I rest in the care of a sovereign God, I really do rest.
The same can be said for a nation. If God has a plan for the world and a plan for individuals, then God must also have a plan for a nation, and even a province. There was some rhetoric that was bounced about during the Quebec election about the Parti Quebecois extending secularism even farther than it has been – and Quebec, once the most religious province in the dominion, is the most secular in the wake of the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. There has almost always been talk about separation. These two matters may leave Canadians, and especially Quebeckers, uneasy – especially those who are Christ-followers. However, if we believe in the sovereignty of God, then we should rest in the truth that God is in charge and has a plan for Canada, and a plan for Quebec. God invites us to work toward what we believe that plan may be, and he invites us not to worry.
You may have worries – worries that are, for you, far more pertinent and immediate in nature than whatever may be the actions of the government of Quebec. The same truth applies, though: trust in God, who is sovereign. He has a plan, and a way, for you – in whatever trials you may suffer.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29.11-13, NIV).
A mes ami(e)s Quebecois(es): SVP excusez le manque des accents sur les mots francais.