Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Freedom of Sovereignty

Yesterday was Monday, meaning I took my place in my Monday Morning Quarterback armchair to sift through a bunch of "what if"'s about my Panthers. What if Delhomme had thrown the ball into the stands instead of to the Bengals safety? What if the much-talked-about defense could've come up with a stop in the last 4:00? What if I had been able to watch the game, tossing my will and superstition behind the blue and black? Alas, what if?

What if's can haunt us. Ask John Bunting. If Joe Dailey gets the ball in the end zone against Rutgers, we might be .500 and Bunting might still be employed for another year. What if's can drive us crazy if we allow them too. We can always second-guess big decisions that we make, wondering what life would look like if we had gone to a different college, taken a different job, or moved to a different city.

It gets rather scary when we start playing the what-if game with our small decisions because, so often, moments we thought were routine and inconsequential turned out to be life-changing. A buddy of mine has recently been developing a relationship with an old friend who he simply ran into at the post office. This chance meeting has changed his life now and could for the long-term as well. A last-minute decision to go to the beach 3 years ago eventually landed me in a position which changed the entire focus of my life. One afternoon in high school, the decision to go for a run - a decision I made with routine regularity - resulted in a broken leg that ended my competitive running career and thus sent me to a different college.

What if my friend doesn't go to the post office? What if I stay and watch football instead of going to the beach? What if I just take the day off from running? All minor decisions which had huge consequences.

As someone who likes control, these questions can drive me nuts. They basically imply that EVERY decision I make matters - and matters a whole lot. What stress that puts on things like deciding what to eat, whether to watch tv or go to a friend's house, whether to get in my car, whether to go run, whether to do anything!

Enter the freedom of God's sovereignty.

I don't know much about sovereignty. The concept tends to run me around in theological circles til I get nowhere, very dizzily. But I can't imagine God watching my life from above and saying, "Damn, where did that come from?" to anything that might happen to me. In his Word, God claims soveriegnty over my existence, even over the little decisions. I can't micromanage every little decision in my life to ensure I get the outcome I desire. But I don't have to. God is in control, guiding my life to get me where he wants me in big decisions and little ones.

One of the things God promises us is freedom. This releases us from the bondage of a lot of things - guilt, fear, sin, all kinds of stuff. I personally love that his sovereignty frees me from worrying about the multitude of consequences that could result from even the smallest decisions. He takes the consequences under his purposeful direction and moves powerfully for my benefit. What freedom that provides me as I make hundreds of decisions every day. Coincidence doesn't exist, as I am where I am for a reason. Praise God that sovereignty doesn't deal in what-if's.


Anonymous said...

Without the peace that comes from a basic understanding of this sovereignty, I think I would regularly experience chemical imbalances leading into downward whirlwinds of self-destructive behavior.

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