God is teaching me about his sovereignty. First lesson is how to spell it. Seriously, I didn’t want to write this post because I would have to keep spelling that word.
One of my strongholds – the fleshly desire I am constantly striving against – is to believe that my choices determine my life. That I have control. That it’s in my power to make life work or to make it fail. I’ve spent hours agonizing these past weeks, trying to figure out what I did wrong. Where did I make the wrong step? Which decision caused this?
I read a blog post about pushing and striving to get a child. The theme was – “I want Isaac. I don’t want Ishmael.” We used to talk about that a lot when we were going through fertility treatments. Wondering if we were making the same mistake that Sarah made when she told her husband to sleep with her maidservant to have a child. But something about that post struck me as wrong.
Was Ishmael really a mistake? Should he never have been born? While we know that Isaac was the chosen son to carry on the promise, it doesn’t mean that God loved Ishmael less. In fact, we know from Scripture that God did love Ishmael and promised him generations of blessing as well. We have to assume that Abraham loved him as well. He was his son. My parents didn’t plan to have me as their child when they did. I was a “mistake.” But do they ever wish it didn’t happen? I can promise they don’t. (They really love me.)
God is sovereign over our choices. As Joseph said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen 50:20). Will we make wrong choices? Will we be sinful and ill-motivated? Of course we will. But we can never make a choice outside of God’s realm. He is all powerful. He doesn’t make a plan B. When we make wrong turns, we don’t end up alone. We end up right where God wants us in order for him to do his work and to bring glory to himself.
I want to believe that I have the power. That my destiny is my hands. Somehow I am convinced that I am more secure if I have the control. I want the power. I want it to be predictable. I want the glory when things go right, and I’m willing to take the blame when it goes wrong.
This way of living is not true freedom. It’s delusion, and it’s slavery. The world is so much bigger than I am. It’s more than I can explain. I am like a child who thinks that world is nothing more than my crib and parents.
As I am striving, God is asking me:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars vsang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
It’s laughable really. I think that I can make a choice to determine the course of my life, but I don’t even have the power to choose to wake up in the morning. I can’t choose not to feel hungry. I can’t make the sun rise or set.
I want to rest in the peace of knowing that Father is in control, and I may mess up, stomp my feet, scream, and cry, but nothing that I do can push this train off the road.