Sovereignty in Uncertainty
This post by FAR takes the cake as the most written-deleted-redone-erased-written-nope that’s still not it- post I have ever written. I thought I knew what I was supposed to write about for a while and I just struggled to find time to make it happen, and then every time I sat down and started typing, it just was not the right message for right now. I believe they will come in to play down the road, but I told God when He called me to this that I would say whatever He wanted me to say, so if it means starting over 1,000 times before I get it right, so be it. It is January 2021, and the world desperately needs what the Lord has to say, so here goes....
”Uncertainty” was probably the most used word in 2020. Seriously. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the word more than I did last year. And understandably so. At every level, at some point or another, it seemed as if our everyday ”normal” was flipped upside down. Socially. Economically. Politcally. Covid arrived... and stayed. It was a year of constant change that left us whip-lashed, winded, and weary of what 2021 would hold. All the rules were the same, and then they weren’t. All the regulations and guidelines were similar, and then they were different. I’m sure that to whatever extent all of these things effected you, it was a dramatic effect to some degree. We can all agree that it was a year unlike no other, thus deeming it so very ”uncertain.” After hearing that word be tossed around for months, I really began to have this not-so-profound realization: hasn’t our everyday ”normal” always been uncertain? Maybe in a less dramatic fashion than in 2020- but think about the definition for a second. The dictionary states that ”certain” means ”known for sure; established beyond doubt; having complete confidence.” So in essence, what we said all year long last year was that it was not known for sure, doubtful, and lacking confidence. Ummm? See what I mean? Hasn’t our life every single day from the moment we took our first breath been ”uncertain?” Have we not always had to proceed with caution around every twist and turn, unsure of what the future held? Have we ever been able to guarantee our next breath? Our next career move or business endeavor? Have we ever known that our health wasn’t going to falter or that our sickness and suffering wouldn’t last forever? We make our plans and fill our schedules but how often has all of our planning really played out to our liking? What we meant was that 2020 was uncomfortable. It was messy. It was inconsistent with our ”normal,” and so that made it doubtful and even dreadful on occasion. It was unable to be relied on. But in all honesty- that has always been the case. Our lives are lived moment by moment event when the years seem to fly by. What comes next, what experiences we will have and what trials we will endure- they have always been a mystery to us up until we stumble into them. That’s just how life works. It’s just that it took change after change after change in 2020 to make us realize that this life really is valuable, vulnerable, and but a vapor in the grand scheme of things. We were no less in control than we had ever been, despite our very best efforts to grasp at grains of normalcy as we felt less and less ”certain” about all that was taking place.
So when we begin to unravel the uncertainty of life and it’s ability to throw us for a loop.... or several- looking at you, 2020.... we also must look at what IS certain and what can be relied on, trusted in, and what is worthy of our confidence. It can’t be our calendars, our schedules, or our planners. We have had to learn to keep an eraser close by and be ready to change our agendas at the drop of a hat. It can’t be our titles, postions, or roles because so many of us have had those things snatched away also. It can’t be our knowledge of the past and what we have always done before, because we are learning that our methods and systems must also ebb and flow with time. The list goes on and on of things that will undoubtedly let us down and leave us wondering what else.... what else will change, what else will be taken away, what else we will endure. I’m sure the vast majority of us have heard and even used the word ”sovereignty” in conversation or read it in books. It may be familiar to you, or it may be one of those words that you hear tossed around without being completely sure of what it means. The dictionary states that ”sovereignty” is ”having supreme power or authority.” It is often used when talking about the authority states have to govern themselves and in other governmental affairs. As we are well aware of, there is nothing about the governement that can be relied on or trusted in, so that definition needs some help. The Biblical definition of sovereignty can be summed up in this way: “The sovereignty of God is that all things are under His rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. It is not just that He has the power and right to govern all things, but that He does so, and without exception.” Woah! 🤯
So, let’s get this straight. In all of the chaos, all of the change, in all of the certain and uncertain things alike, God still possesses His sovereignty? He is still ruling, controling, and governing even when so much seems to be spinning out of control? How does that work? Can He not intervene? Can He not use that power and authority to stop the craziness and restore the chaos back to normal? Yes, to all of that. And to so much more. You see, God’s sovereignty means that He is completely aware of, acknowledging, and active in all of the circumstances going on in the world, all without ever missing a beat in any of them. He never zones out, takes a break, or taps out only to re-enter a situation later and have to get caught back up on the current status of it. He never sleeps, never surrenders, and never stops being completely, 100% involved, both in our personal lives and in worldy affairs. Though we feel helpless, He is not. Though we feel lost, He does not. Though we don’t know what to believe or where to turn, He has never and will never be caught off guard or surprised by any of it. We sometimes fail to realize that not being able to see what God is doing does not mean that He isn’t moving. When we think He isn’t intervening, He is fighting battles we know nothing about on our behalf. When we think He has turned a blind eye to our suffering, He is singing over us songs of comfort. When we think that people in power are causing irreparable damage, He is using what is meant for evil for our ultimate good.
We tend to think that there’s no way God can really be sovereign over everything, all powerful, and completely in control when things get as difficult and as messy as they currently are. Our society as a whole has a sort of power-trip mentality that standing up, fighting back, and using force is the way that change occurs and that progress is made. And while sometimes some of those things are needed, that is not typically how God operates. We have to remember that we are made in His image, He is not made in ours. His ways are higher than our ways, because He can see the big, completed picture and we are limited to only seeing the right here and now. And ultimately, God is going to do what brings Him the most glory. Not because His ego needs stroking or because He needs us to flatter Him, but because that is the ultimate point of every single thing anyway. Creation. Humans. Relationships. Government. He is what gives it all purpose and meaning. Our problems arise when we decide we want the credit rather than allowing God to get the credit. We get ourselves into a world of trouble, whether personally or nationally, when we choose our way over God’s way and prevent Him from being the Lord of our lives. Because although He is sovereign, He is not forceful. He does not make us listen to His commands or surrender to His will. And when we do not, the result is never good. And in His sovereignty, He allows us to hit those deep, dark recesses of failure, of hurt, of suffering, of sadness, of brokenness- all for the purpose of bringing us back to Him. It isn’t cold or cruel. It isn’t unfair or uncaring. It is His relentless love that runs so much deeper than we can even fathom.
When we look out and seem to only be able to see destruction, damage, and death, we have to remember that God has not decided that we are too lost or too far gone to heal or to restore. Isaiah 46:9-10 states, ”I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ”My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all My purpose.”’ See! ALL. HIS. PURPOSE. Do we understand that everything, absolutely everything, that God allows has purpose? We don’t see purpose, we see pain. We don’t see meaning, we see misery. But He is God and there is NO other, and if our pain and misery awaken us to our need for Him, then He will allow it. The end justifies the means if it brings us to our knees in awe, surrender, and worship of the one true God.
Daniel 2:20-21 says, ”Wisdom and might belong to Me. I change the times and the seasons; I remove kings and set up kings.” Psalm 33:10 says, ”I bring the counsel of the nations to nothing; I frustrate the plans of the people.” Are you frustrated? With your own choices, or maybe with someone else’s? Are you weary of a transfer of power, or lack thereof, or whatever it is that’s happening in Washington? Are you worn out from trying to put pieces of a puzzle together that just aren’t adding up? Are you tired of hearing the same ”God is in control” rhetoric that you’ve always heard from people that are just as fearful as you are? It has been a hard year. 2021 has not started off quite as hopeful as what we would have liked. I think we can all agree that maybe this year, the best resolution we could ever make is to exchange our planner for our Bible and just be still. It is not easy, nor is it comfortable. We like to go and to do, but let’s reflect on where our going and doing have gotten us. Our world does need healing. Sickness and suffering are very real and their impacts stretch far and wide. Our nation does need direction and leadership, but that will come from prayer and fasting, not from politicians or presidents. People do need to hear and know the truth, but that looks a lot more like loving and listening than it does shouting and shunning. We do need to be rooted and unwavering, but in our knowledge of who God is and who He’s made us to be, not in our political affiliation or national allegiance.
People will fail us and flags will change. Laws will be lifted and masks will be mandated. Everywhere we look, things will continue to change. But what I hope you hear in all of this is that as those changes occur, we have to fix our sights on what has not and will not change: the soverignty of God. He has not surrendered His Kingship, nor will He be voted off the throne. He is working and moving and intervening on our behalf, every second of everyday. He is steady in our suffering and constant in our chaos. He is the solution we’ve been seeking, and His hand is still offered and able to help us.
There is so, so much uncertainty in this life. That we can be certain of. But we must also be certain that God is good, He is in control, and He is enough.
Until Next Time,