Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-17 ESV)
I have a great many thoughts I would like to “pen”, but not much time to engage the keyboard to get them into my blog. But on this 4th of July 2014, I actually have a free morning, so here I am. What rattles through my mind at times is my lot in life: what God has portioned to me. If I believe all things are gifts from the Almighty, then they are gifts from the Father of Lights above in whom there is no shifting shadow. (James 1:17 … go look it up 😉). I affirm all this and am grateful to God for what I have.
I Love the Sovereingty of God
I look upon my life with general gratitude and contentment. I have a home, a family, and frankly (despite the strain and long hours right now) a great job for what has shaped up to be a great company. I believe they are all gifts from God. Without his provision I would have none of this. Bluntly, I realize I deserve Hell. But He sovereignly determined before the beginning of time to rescue my soul from His wrath through the blood of Jesus. Check this out …Paul is quoting Exodus 33:19 God telling this to Moses.
For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:15 ESV)
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30 ESV)
I am a blessed man:
- God chose me to live in the United States of America – which is still the “free-est” nation on Earth – despite tyrranical rumblings from the top of our Government (all three branches, but I won’t get started here)
- I have vehicles that are relatively reliable, and even my luxury “Harley Davidson motorcycle” to which I am eternally grateful to my buddy “Chizzle my Nizzle” for introducing me to riding.
- A home
- A family
- A great church to hear from his Word
- and again a good job
Blessed. All these AND more, I freely acknowledge are from God, by His sovereign choice to provide these to me.
I Resist the Sovereignty of God
Man, can I grumble. And complain.
- “God! I don’t have enough of such and such.”
- “God! Why did you give me this and not that!?”
I’m being dramatic in these statements, demonstrating what can happen in my mind as emotions, feelings and thoughts bubble up from my heart. (Oh, dear Reader, don’t judge me or look down on what I am sharing. You have the same problem as I. I am not fooled.) I do not let these thoughts escape my lips (in public or private) and I don’t attach God’s name directly to each thought, but each moment of discontent is me accusing God of not doing good by me or giving me what I think I deserve. (x-ref “deserving Hell” above.) The number of “change notices” my heart generates can be innumerable. Why didn’t I choose differently here? Why didn’t I act differently there? Why can’t I have such and such? Despite all my good, bad, and gambling choices, I am where God has deemed me to be. Yes, there are parts I struggle against. Ugh. This is where my sinful flesh can resist the sovereignty of God.
I Love the Sovereingty of God
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:24-25 ESV)
Despite my back and forth between gratitude and grumbling, in an eternal view, I ultimately settle on the fact God knows exactly what I need. My life, and this Earth, are ultiamtely fading away (1 Peter 1:24-25) – my life faster than the Earth’s. When the fleeting thought of discontent crosses my synapses, I follow-up with thinking how me getting what I want (or think I deserve) could be a bad thing. One simple thing I can easily share is my current city of residence. I was living in California, from California, intent to stay in California. God had other plans: Arizona – away from all I had ever known. He created the conditions to make California turn South on me, and Arizona was the first to offer me a job that was a fit for my skills. The rest fell into place after that. Here I am on this side of the adventure (in a great house, with a great job, in a great community,) and I find my heart wandering back to California – only for the friends and family. In those moments I resist longing for what “could have been” or “could be” because I easily see the other side of the coin. If God were to give me that desire – as if I were spurning what I have right now – I would be in a position that I’d be living paycheck-to-paycheck, low-to-no savings, high debt and high rent, probably in a job that I was underprepared for and struggling, as well as having a disintegrating family life. Because of God’s Sovereignty, He guided me to avoid a bullet to the heart of my life, and He planted me in a place to strengthen my stance and thrive. He has given me what I need, because what I want would probably be detrimental. Not every grumble or complaint is easy to discern the other side of the coin, but God guides us in Philippians 2 to “do all thing without grumbling or complaining.” I love this passage:
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
God knows best, and I know he has protected me from myself. His grace is amazing. That is why I Love God’s Sovereignty.