Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. -Psalm 127:1 ESV
You can do nothing on your own. Well thought plans fail. Well run races are lost. Sometimes doing your best isn’t good enough. God is sovereign and sometimes His sovereignty infringes. Like wheels stuck in the mud, like a car wanting to drive up hill on a sheet of ice, like a builder with rickety wood and jello nails, we’re helpless to the will of God.
Does this put you at ease or does this frustrate you?
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. -Psalm 127:1 ESV
You can guard your treasure day and night and still lose it. You can take care, use caution and still watch it slip through your fingers. You can set up the best fail safe system and yet it collapses. God is sovereign and sometimes you and He have different plans.
Do you want your plan or do you want His?
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth. -Ecclesiastes 3:1
But, what the heck is He doing? He’s operating outside of time and conducting the orchestra of a life that we measure by time. We see what seems senseless and feel helpless to bring it to order. Blame, guilt, shame and frustration season our voices and sing our songs.
What song are you singing? If there is a right time for everything, then what time is it in your world?
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace. -Ecclesiastes 3:2-8
A poetic homage to a sovereign God and we usually hear it at funerals to give us peace. Peace that what was taken from us was God’s timing. We use God’s sovereignty when it makes us feel better and we reject it when it makes us feel controlled. God does not contradict Himself. We do.
Things and people are given life and then life is taken. We know we can’t control that. You don’t get to choose when, where, to whom or how. You are powerless to God’s timing. This is an indisputable truth that everybody knows. You don’t get to pick and choose when what is true, true, and when what is true, a lie.
True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. -Ecclesiastes 3:11
You can’t mend a garden that God intends to rip up. You can’t find what God purposed for you to lose. You can’t hold on to something that God wants you to release.
In the same way, you can’t rip up what God has planted. You can’t lose what God has given you to find. You can’t release what God has given you to hold.
You can’t do anything that God hasn’t already declared ‘done’.
I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear. Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God. -Ecclesiastes 3:14-15
The sharp blade of truth cuts all the way to the bone and leaves you with a choice: Do you want to serve a God you can’t control? But, then, is it really a choice outside of ‘time’ or just at this ‘time’? We measure by the rising and setting of the sun, but God created the sun, so what does He use to make His measurements?
Unlike us, you’re not working against a deadline. You have all eternity to work things out. -Job to God; Job 10:5
Things might look bad for a time, you may have to stand and watch all your good memories go up in flames. I know that things seem senseless and the pain robs your sleep on nights that never end. I’ve been there, but I’m here to tell you that those nights do end. The sun does rise.
I create the blacksmith who fires up his forge and makes a weapon designed to kill. I also create the destroyer— but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged. Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar. This is what God’s servants can expect. I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.” God’s Decree. –Isaiah 54:16-17
Maybe it’s time to ‘worship in holy fear.’ Holy fear because you’re worshipping a God you can’t control and resting in the fact that if it’s happening, then God has a purpose for it.
Last night I had a dream that all the mending I want so desperately to happen was already happening and I just didn’t know it yet. By the time I was made aware, it was done. It’s as involuntary as the sun rising. We can pray through the long hours of night and beg the sun to rise, but the sun rises in it’s own time and it does it without any help from us. We can rest and get a good nights sleep knowing that the night won’t last forever and enjoy the gift of the sun when it’s the sun’s time to rise.