It’s an old-fashioned word that refers to a person who is in ultimate authority. It means that whatever this person says, absolutely goes. There is no one higher than a sovereign, and his sovereignty (authority) is final and unassailable.
To be a sovereign is quite a foreign idea in our Western world, where we operate on a system of “majority wins” and prize independence. In fact, most of us are probably repelled by the idea of obedience to a sovereign—perhaps owed largely to the (toxic) notion that the most important goal in life is to make self happy.
So before we plow further, I would really recommend reading through “Submission,” an earlier post of mine, to get us all on the same page. As I wrote there, “submission has got to be one of the most controversial words in all the Bible,” but a lifestyle that actually brings us the greatest and deepest joy.
Friends, Scripture commands us to submit to the Sovereign: God. God’s authority is ultimate and uncontested, as a quick scan of the book of Job would remind us. Unwavering obedience to our Lord’s sovereignty can be a downright scary thing, as maybe you come from a history where those in authority over you have abused their power. But even for those who come from a relatively healthy background, trusting God can still be extremely difficult.
Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: God is good.
And I’m not talking about some happy clappy, great-thing-to-shout-in-church kind of good; I’m talking that God literally defines “good” for us. He is the standard of ultimate kindness and generosity. He created us so that He could love us—and not in a selfish way, but simply and purely to love us.. to share of Himself with us, to selflessly prosper us, to laugh with us, to live with us. There is not a fraction of underlying motive or wickedness in our good Father. And it is out of a deep love in return that we long to obey Him (John 14:15).
Knowing the perfect and selfless nature of God is the first step in submission, even blind obedience, because if we can trust that God is working all things out for our good as He promised, then we will have no problem living life open-handedly.
All that I have written thus far is actually the prelude to what I really wanted to share. Once we have firmly rooted in our hearts that God’s sovereignty is one of love, selflessness, and unmatched kindness, then we won’t lose our footing when times are rough. When He asks us to walk into a dark fog, we can trust Him. We can trust God through uncertainty, pain, and disappointment.. because we know who He is.
Listen to this:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
Maybe you are going through a season of darkness. With sensitivity I say to keep submitting to God. He is sovereign. He knows what He’s doing (and what you’re facing). He has not forgotten you, and He is working every last minutiae out for your good. Period. Do not be scared of trusting His sovereignty.
When you begin to feel desperate or disappointed, sing.
God is not some malevolent dictator. He is a loving Father. And He is closer than you think.. much closer. And so when things are falling apart all around us, we have an unsinkable hope—the refreshing sovereignty of a God who is leading us around a bend and into a happy ending.