As Christians, we hold the doctrine of God’s sovereignty to be true. How we specifically define that doctrine certainly varies, but there’s no getting around its actuality. The God of the Bible declares himself to be God Almighty (Genesis 17:1, 35:11). And that reign reaches to all parts of life whether it’s political — “You (Pilate) would have no authority over me (Jesus) at all unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:11, ecclesial — “…I (Jesus) will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18, or personal — “…for those who love God all things work together for good” Romans 8:28. However, sometimes — and I’m speaking from the Reformed viewpoint of God being meticulously sovereign — our rhetoric and our actions don’t quite align. We profess great faith in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, but in practice we often fail to demonstrate that faith.
Raptured by the urgency of the moment we make decisions that are not quite in line with — perhaps contrary to? — God’s revelation of himself and what he expects of his children (i.e., the words of the Bible). We fail to look past our present circumstance and see how God is possibly going to keep his promises to us. Perhaps, instead of assuming that God won’t come through, we should humbly and transparently ask him to increase our faith because we’re struggling to believe him at his word.
Because we, like Abraham long before us, may have heard God’s promises to us but assumed that — through what we perceived to be his slothfulness in acting on them — we were left to ourselves to carry them out (Genesis 15-17). Rather than faithfully waiting for God to do what he has promised, we assume we must devise a way that, at best, attempts to bend — likely break — God’s standards for his redeemed people (e.g., associating ourselves with evil when God won’t — Psalm 101:4, making of first importance what God doesn’t — Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:7, and adding to, or altering, God’s word to fit our own agendas — Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).
We, with joy, recount God’s great faithfulness to us and say with the psalmist, “Then they believed his words; they sang his praise.” (Psalm 106:12). However, we also must admit that we partake in the very next verse just as much — if not more often, “But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.” (Psalm 106:13). This is the constant refrain of our lives and we should take time to stop, look ourselves in the mirror, and ask: “does our profession of faith in a sovereign God match our practice?”
Almost certainly not.
So, instead, with the risen and reigning Christ as our confidence, and by faith, let’s wait. Let’s choose not to move before God does. Let’s believe his promises when it’s hard to. Let’s rely on his word when we want to add to it. And by doing these things let’s show that we have great assurance not in the promise itself, but in the Sovereign One who promised it.
Photo Credit: @mrsverenaboga