The word 'Sovereign' is one of those words. One of those words that we are not altogether unfamiliar with, yet we'd be hard pressed to say that we fully "get it" - especially when the word is used to describe God. So I did what all over-thinkers do. I looked it up.
Yep. That's what I thought . . . And that's the problem.Sovereign: possessed of supreme power; above or higher than (in place or position); independent of and unlimited by any other.
I think we'd all agree that if anyone would fit the definition of 'sovereign' it would be God - hands down. But what about days (weeks, months ...) when our lives are filled with struggles? Is He sovereign then?
'Struggling' is my church lady way of describing how I'm sometimes not crazy about the way God is handling an important situation in my life and I am attempting to tell Him about it but He seems to not be listening or changing anything though I am providing Him with evidence and reason and reminders of why I deserve what I am asking for and why the timing is so important along with the subtle suggestion that He might not be as fair as He could be concerning this very important matter which by the way . . . . 'Struggling'.
When it comes to the sovereignty of God, I think most of us run back and forth between two schools of thought:
1 - God is good, but not totally sovereign.
2 - God is sovereign, but not totally good.
Which is truth? Neither! God is both sovereign AND good!
His power is absolute, total, unlimited, unrestricted, fixed, infallible, precise, undeniable, unquestionable, total - sovereign. He is able to move any mountain, correct any situation, change any decision, touch any life.
He is also absolutely good, merciful, faithful, just, holy, true, loving, peaceful, patient, generous, forgiving and completely willing.
Consider this: A small child toddles innocently into a street where an oncoming semi can’t see him. Mom runs to the rescue and in the nick of time, saves her son. His safety is secure again and all is well. Except for one thing. Now Junior is angry at Mom. In order to rescue him in time, she scooped him up quickly from the street and hurt his arm a bit. Revelation!! Mom is mean! For no reason at all, she’s hurt his innocent little arm. Before this incident, he thought she was so loving, and sweet and protective, but it turns out she’s just mean and uncaring, and unloving and indifferent to his pain. And to make matters worse, she offers no explanation. He’s considering not trusting her anymore.
We all know that it wouldn’t do Mom any good to attempt to explain to Junior that she did what was necessary to save his life - because she loves him. She could spend the rest of the day trying to explain the dynamics of standing in the path of an oncoming vehicle to him, but she doesn’t - because his limited understanding can not grasp it. Instead, she holds him, sheds tears of relief, and ignores the fact that he is angry with her. “One day . . .” she thinks, “One day, he’ll understand my great love for him.” And for now, that is enough for her. She endures his anger and confusion, because she knows - better than he - the danger and the risks. She sees what he can not see . . . yet.
I suppose because we’re “all grown up” it’s a little difficult to believe that we don’t always know what’s best for us. When God doesn’t allow something in our lives that we want so desperately, or when He allows situations that are difficult, it seems logical to distrust His motives.
After all, if He is 'sovereign', if He CAN do something about it, then why doesn’t he?
If He is able to deliver me from ________, then why doesn’t He? Because He’s working out a plan.
If He does love me, then why doesn’t he remove all difficulty? Because He loves me.
If there is a reason behind the madness, why doesn’t He explain? Because He knows, and for now, that is enough.
And because He has a plan. And because His plan involves training us in righteousness and holiness and faith. And because He knows of what we are truly made and what really needs to happen in the secret place of our hearts . . . And because He alone knows what magnificent treasures He has stored in your heart alone. No one else has been as uniquely gifted as you. Your unprecedented combination of gifting and heart and talent and personality and quirkiness and sensitivity and vision and manner of seeing the world is unlike any other. And He requires it to be that way for you to fulfill your calling in the Body and advance His Kingdom . . . while there is still time.
“. . . until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all the kingdoms of men” (Daniel 4:32)
Yes, Father God is absolutely sovereign in the ways of men - and women. Yes, He sees our every struggle, tear, and confused thought. Will we allow Him to use them to do what only He can do, to mold us into the very image of His Son, to produce in us what is only visible to Him, for now?
Because He is truly both sovereign AND good.
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- In which areas of my life do I continually and regularly experience 'struggle'?
- Am I willing to turn those areas over to Him, knowing that He is fully sovereign and trustworthy?
- Do I trust that God is working out a beautiful, holy plan for my life?
In Him . . .
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