Monday, February 06, 2012

Amidst the Yuck: Reflection on God's Sovereignty

“Tell us your God story…”, “It was such a God thing…”, “God was working there…”, “It was amazing how God was guiding us…” 
These are a few of the phrases in “Christianese” that just drive me crazy.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being aware of God working in our lives and reflecting on it intentionally, but I feel like nine times out of ten we use these slightly cheesy sayings exclusively in relation to circumstances that have worked out the way we believe they should, circumstances that make us happy or comfortable.  Very rarely do I hear people say, “Yeah, this situation really sucks, I’m not particularly happy, things are not working out /my/ way, and honestly, I’m angry right now, but I know God is good and in control.”
Our view, my view, of the way God works is small and relatively screwed up.
Take Job.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.   The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

He praises God amidst the yuck and even gives Him the credit for taking the things that made him happy away.  His act of worship is even more striking and insightful when you reflect on the fact that at the beginning of the chapter, God is the one who calls Satan’s attention to His servant in the first place.

8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8

Maybe I’m the only one who never noticed this until recently, but this sort of shocked me.  Satan, our accuser doesn’t bring Job up in the first place, God does.  Moreover, Satan has to ask God permission to launch his attack and God has to approve.  My conclusion?  God is sovereign over all things, even the yuck.  To put it without the Christian jargon, God is completely in control over the good, the bad, and the ugly that goes on in our lives.

Two reactions can, and inevitably do, follow this realization:

1.       It’s not fair
2.       Awestruck praise
I think I’ve considered this on my blog before, so I may just be rehashing things, but here it is anyway; I am comforted by God’s control over the junk that happens to me.  Sometimes I get mad, often I complain to God, but I would so much rather a powerful God Who works things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose that we might be conformed to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:28-29) than sort of like a god who is good and loving but has no power at all.
That’s why I get sick of hearing the rainbows and bunnies stories.  Not that I don’t believe them or that I am completely cynical (only a little) or that I don’t want them told, but because I want to hear more of us (myself as well) singing God’s praises when things don’t go /our/ way.  I guess what I want is more authenticity.  Be honest if you’re mad at God, at the world, if things don’t make any sense.  The Psalmists did it, complained to God, so why don’t we?  What do you think?  What holds you back?

No comments: