Clothing on the Floor and the Sovereignty of God

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“God cannot change your high school unless he does it through you.” The evangelist behind the microphone was almost shouting. “You must be His representative on campus because He can only do His work if you let Him.”

As a teenager, I attended a number of large, Christian rallies where the music was hot and the speakers were dynamic. As an impressionable sixteen-year-old sitting in the audience, I’ll never forget these words coming from the lips of a very persuasive communicator. I remember being troubled by what I had just heard.

I grew up in a home where the father was . . . well, he was the father.  It wasn’t that he was cruel or overbearing. In fact, we knew, without any shadow of doubt, that we were loved. It’s just that when my dad spoke, we listened. When he told us to do something, we did it . . . or at least we made it look like we were doing it. Dad was a hard-working and focused man of German descent, and not many people messed with him . . . especially his children.

Let’s speculate that, as a youngster, I had a particularly irresponsible habit of leaving my spent clothing on my bedroom floor—a purely hypothetical illustration, of course! And let’s say that my dad was very troubled by this kind of sloppiness—as he would have been. Now, picture my dad in a conversation with my mother. “You know, dear,” he would have said, “Robert refuses to pick up his clothing and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m so frustrated. What should I do?”

This is so hypothetical that it makes me smile. Why? Because my dad would have found a way to impress on me that throwing any kind of clothing on the floor was unacceptable. He would have told me to bend down and retrieve my underwear . . . or whatever. Then he would have told me again by creating some kind of uncomfortable consequence.  

Then after that, he would have told my siblings to help me understand that leaving stuff on the floor wasn’t going to be tolerated. Because he was the dad, he would have found a way to get to me. And he would have had every right to do this.

This is why the speaker’s words at the youth rally were so troublesome. If my dad takes steps to get my attention, even when I continue to disobey, I remember thinking, then why wouldn’t God also stay on my case until I really heard His voice? Not bad for a kid who had just landed his driver’s license!

The Bible tells the story of Cyrus, King of Persia. Cyrus was not a follower of Israel’s God. He did not read his Bible or attend church and Sunday school. He wasn’t even in a small group. Cyrus was an unbeliever. But incredibly, God used this man to send messages to the Jews.  

God called Cyrus, “His anointed.” How could this be? The answer is very simple and very, very profound. Please do not miss this.

When God wants to do something, He will use whomever He chooses to accomplish exactly what He wants. If God had wanted to show up at my high school and speak to my buddies, He could have done it, even if I had been home with the flu! He could have done it through a janitor or the president of the student council. Or He could have spoken to my friends through me. There is nothing God cannot do.

Who is God using right now in your life to speak to you? Is he telling you something through your boss, who may or may not have any idea who God is? Has He recently sent you a message by way of something you just read on the Internet? Is He talking to you through your children? Your wife? Or your neighbor?  

If my dad would have stopped at nothing to let me know how he felt about my underwear on the floor, the Sovereign and Almighty God will not stand around hoping that I let him be God . . . a pretty preposterous concept, don’t you think?