For part 1, click here.
Ok – so if God does exercise control over everything, then that really messes me up in how I think from day to day. I mean BIG TIME messes me up.
See, I struggle with remembering God’s sovereignty in my day to day life. When I see pain, struggle, or injustice my mind begins to wonder if there aren’t some things just happening… that God has taken his eye off of a detail here or there. I’m not talking about a big theological challenge to God… more like that my day to day worries don’t reflect what I say I believe in my head! I mean, a true belief in God’s total sovereignty removes all worry and fear, right? I’m not there yet!
Anyway, this new logic syllogism made sense to me this morning. If God is God (and I believe He is) how does one account for His reaction to mankind’s suffering moments? Is He bored? Has he set man into motion just to watch him spin? For entertainment? I don’t think so… that doesn’t jive with what I know of him. Is he mean – causing pain sadistically? No – I have experienced enough of God’s character to know He isn’t mean. Is God dumb? Can He not see/predict the ramifications of His actions? No – I see evidence to the contrary. The only option left is that God is strategic… that he often allows "A" and "B" in my life to move me into position for "C". That God has a purpose behind each event I experience, even if the purpose has nothing to do with my life (maybe to impact someone else).
That means that every time I experience stress, a challenge, or a storm in my life that doesn’t look like the promises God has given to me through His word, I have to ask myself – What is God up to? What is he setting me up for? And I have to remember that when it’s time for me to know, when it’s time for me to experience his arrival, I don’t have to worry! He doesn’t need a good housing market, a good economy, or the cooperation of anyone. He didn’t need Peter’s boat to come and save the disciples in the 4th watch of the night – Jesus just walked right out on the water to where He needed to be! I don’t have to "Get it right" to usher in God’s deliverance when the time is right… God will just show up. On his own. In His own strength and time. And there is nothing I can do to hinder it!
Finally, I think the disciples reaction here is telling… they are scared, storm-tossed, and probably praying like never before! Then Jesus comes walking out to save them – and they think He’s a ghost! Because of the lateness of the hour, and their past experiences, they weren’t looking for Jesus to come walking out to them. They probably expected help to look like something totally different… so when salvation walked up to the side of their boat they didn’t recognize it! When I am storm tossed, embattled, and scared… I often don’t recognize God at work, because I think he should solve my problem THIS way or THAT way! Then God comes walking up on my boat, and I am scared of the solution!
It’s all a setup. God is strategic, and He is controlling all of me – including the circumstances around me. My life of faith rises to a whole new level when I can actually live out each day with this understanding… but it is so hard! I guess it really is all about TRUST. Help me trust you more today God.