An Absolute in a Changing World
The dictionary definition of “sovereign” is: supreme, absolute, unlimited, unrestricted, boundless, ultimate, total, unconditional, full; principal, chief, dominant, predominant, ruling; royal, regal, monarchical.
As Jesus stands before him in John 19, Pilate, the governor of Israel, representative of the Caesar in Rome, considers himself to be just about sovereign when he says: “‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have the power to either free you or to crucify you?’” (vs. 10).
Our lives often seem to be lived at the mercy of others. The authorities over us; our employers, our government, our spiritual leaders, all seem to have the right to tell us what to do, when to do it, and what it’s worth. Our lives often seem to be lived at the mercy of our circumstances. Our health, our wealth, our background, our education, all seem to be factors that make or break us.
But we often forget what Pilate was about to be reminded of.
“Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (vs. 11).
When people and problems press down on us, it is a good time to remember these few words spoken by One who knew their reality. It is God who controls it all.
Do we always understand why God does what He does? No. Jesus knew, but we often don’t. It is at those times—when we don’t understand—that our level of trust in God’s absolute sovereignty is tested.
I was away at a conference last week. During those few days I met with many people whom I had not seen for a long time. It was a time to “catch-up” and we did! Some of the news was good, some of it felt bad. A friend who has suffered three miscarriages, another friend who committed suicide after the death of his wife. My friend of the miscarriages did a little “fist-shaking” in God’s face wondering why God wouldn’t allow her to carry a child to term. Her trust was tested and ultimately she accepted that, though she might never get an answer to that question, God was sovereign and knew what He was doing. My friend of the suicide wasn’t able to take that leap of faith.
Another friend posted an interesting article on FACEBOOK this week: http://natepyle.com/confronting-the-lie-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/#sthash.YFM9WFVM.w4hMMBiD.gbpl . It was an issue that came up in one of my Bible studies recently. God often does give us more than we can handle. There is a point to that! But He never gives us more than He can handle through us, because He is the One who controls each person and each circumstance that has an influence on our lives.
And that is something to hang on to.