This is my first ever series—exciting, I know! In the book of Job, there is a note that the Lord answered Job from out of the whirlwind. That's always peaked my curiosity. But, more importantly, it's in these conversations that Job comes to the realization that he is a finite creature with little understanding of the ways of the Creator, which are always good. In a beautiful display of trust, Job humbly submits to his position as a created one and worships the One whose will and workings are for his glory and the joy of his people. I want to explore our proper position in God's world—as creatures, not Creators—and how understanding and submitting to this reality brings us great freedom and joy. Let's start with an introduction, shall we?
For a long time, my faith was a separate thing from the rest of my life. The bits of theology I knew provided me with correct answers and larger, over-arching ideas about life, but the gospel itself was small in my mind. Like a ticket in my back pocket, the gospel simply offered me something I needed. I knew I truly believed Christ died to rescue me from my sin and my most certain eternal punishment, so I was good on that account. But everything else in life was up to me—my day-to-day rhythms, the things I read or watched, the way I understood relationships, what I thought I deserved in life, and how I used and engaged social media. If it could be shaped or formed by my personal opinions, it was mine to decide.
Pridefully, I believed the gospel covered the end of my life, but the right now was all about me.
But friend, the gospel is not small. It's everything. Every second and every aspect of our lives is made different by it. From the way you respond when someone cuts you off in traffic to how you process death, from the way you greet your toddler to the way you spend a lifetime outdoing your spouse with honor, from the way you complete your work tasks to the way you believe the Church ought to act—the gospel not only affects our lives but shapes them according to God's will.
And if the gospel shapes it all, if we were truly bought at a price and are no longer our own, if we live for God's glory alone—how do we now know the objective reality we discovered in our newness of life? It can't be based on my preferences or your preferences (which is a different thing than Christian liberty, don't misunderstand me), but something everlasting and perfectly true.
It has to come from God, which means we have to be tethered to his word to know it. For the Bible is no empty word for those who know God, but our very lives.
By God's grace, my delight in studying his word began to grow. The more I studied, the more I wanted to study. The Holy Spirit continued to pull me from my own personal preferences and whimsies—which will always be rooted in my glory-hogging desires—and grew my desire to obey God's will for those who love him, as it's laid out in scripture.
And I have to say, one of the kindest things the Lord has ever taught me is that I am a creature and not the Creator.
The reality of this position of submission and limitedness and finiteness and altogether not-in-control-ness rubs the human mind the wrong way. It can't be true in a world that says we are masters of our fates and captains of our souls that we may in fact not be such things. We are told repeatedly that no one can tell us what to do or what is true, because truth is found within ourselves. But the reality of God's sovereignty over his creation is true. We did not shut in the seas when they burst forth from our words, determine the measurements of the land, lay the cornerstone of the earth, or hear the morning stars sing together. We did not craft man from dust in our likeness and breathe life into his nostrils. We did not fashion a helper for him from his rib. We do not know the depth of the storehouses of hail or the place where light dwells. We didn't create from nothing, because we can't.
Because we are the created, not the Creator.
And if we are not the Creator, we do not set the rules, reasons, or design of the created things.
Without our permission, the moon pulls the ocean and spring takes as long as it does to spring. Our hearts have four chambers and and dogs cannot fly. I have green eyes, my husband has brown, and my daughter has blue. And just like the clay pot is formed in a particular shape for the purpose of the Potter's wise ways, things are as they were created to be, whether we like it, acknowledge it, or know it.
I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. —Job 42:2-3
God is the only one who understands all things and created all things, therefore he is the only who can rightly say what is true and what is false, what is good and what is folly, what is life and what is death. As created ones, made in his image and called into his Church, we were designed and given a purpose by God for God. Therefore, the most freeing and joy-filled way to live is within the loving boundaries provided, by the One who knows best, for our benefit and joy.
Submitting to his sovereignty in our lives sets right what was previously wrong. We no longer wander in rebellion—striving, lacking, fearing, and aching.
Instead, we find the life for which we were made and the joy offered to us by our Maker.