The Sovereign Love of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, December 29, 2020 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

Control, power and surrender. When we play sports, we all want to be the champions. At work, we strive for that promotion or raise. We want to be liked by our peers. But what value do these add to our lives, when obtained by our own will? Once that gold is won, we have to keep fighting to keep it. Getting that promotion only drives us deeper into greed and lust. Pleasing our peers only keeps them around for so long.

It’s also easy to fall into a fallacy that if we want something done right, we gotta do it ourselves. On what premise does something truly happen by our own means? Circumstances are an interesting element of this world, where we like to think that something happened because it was in the right place at the right time. Consider how “the right place at the right time” is determined, though. We do not know prior to the event happening that it will in fact happen; we can only assume or infer. Both good and bad situations have consequences and benefits, but we can only map that out so far, if at all really.

The truth is that God loves us, and He is in control of what happens in our lives. This doesn’t mean we don’t have any say in what happens. But it does mean that regardless of whether we wear a red or blue shirt, for example, us reaching our destination or not is in God’s will, not ours.

Personally, I struggled many times this past year with spending moments with the Lord. I kept feeling like I had to control aspects of my life that I had no way of even trying to. A prime example of this is COVID. Back in June, when it really started hitting hard in the northwest Ohio area where I live, I was afraid of doing much of anything. Fear had an extremely tight hold on me, and the only control I felt I had was whether I could get out of bed or not. During this time, my wife had to go to Michigan for family business, and my pastor at the time asked if we could meet up for lunch. Initially I said yes, but later on that day I called him back and declined due to fear.

But not even 30 minutes after that, I felt like I just needed to go for a walk. Part of me was afraid, but another part was telling me to do it and to trust. If I stepped outside I had no control over what would happen. But, I stepped outside and went for a walk. A few times I stopped and just looked around, understanding there was nothing I could do or say that would fix any of this and that I had to surrender my trust to God if I wanted to be set free from these chains. Almost instantly, I felt like I could breathe, smile, and laugh again. Trusting in God’s sovereign love really did set me free.

There are 3 areas of the Old Testament I love to look at when I need a reminder of God’s sovereignty. Deuteronomy 7 gives insight on this when it comes to being His people (believers) or not. Specifically, verses 7-11 summarize the idea pretty well. Another area is the whole book of Job, where we see God’s control is through all suffering and blessing. Even Satan himself seeks permission, knowing how much in control God is in with everything. Lastly there’s the book of Ecclesiastes, where we see a constant theme of “X is meaningless.” X being things from wisdom, toil, pleasure, folly, et The author of the book highlights elements where regardless of what they did, God’s love and sovereignty was what happened. (Check out Katie Erickson’s blog post series on Ecclesiastes, starting here, for more on that book.)

As Christians, we do often speak of God’s love for us, but the true belief of what that love is exactly is quickly revealed when things out of our control happen. Young and old, weak and strong alike in both body and spirit can have the same experiences surrounding this. There are moments in our lives where we realize that whether we fret about things or not, it really doesn’t matter, and worrying about them won’t change the situation. We stare in awareness but also frustration as we watch a loved one die in front of us. In these moments, we can curse out to God in frustration, selfishness, or pity. Yet, not even a day prior we can go around to all of our neighbors and friends praising God and telling everyone just how great He is.

We should never forget how grateful we should be for His love, but also that His love is perfect, unlike ours. There’s no way we could equally love a homeless stranger and our husband or wife the same. We aren’t engineered to truly hold both to the same value. God is, though. That love does come at a price, and that’s control. To truly witness and experience His perfect love in our lives, we need to surrender control. Let go of what we can and cannot control and trust in Him to resolve it all.

Surround yourself with like-minded Christians and seek guidance whenever it’s needed. For me, this meant finding a Christian therapist. As this has been a constant theme between our times together, she once provided me with this saying on a bookmark I like to keep around for when I forget God’s love is in control: “By surrendering ourselves to quiet communion with God, by resting for a while from all our thinking and acting and serving, by leaving all things for once in our Heavenly Father’s hands, secret wounds are healed, gathering unbelief is dispelled, and displaced armor refixed.”

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