Steady Now

In fourth grade, our school nurse bustled into our classroom one spring morning during reading group, clipboard in hand. Nodding to our teacher, she cleared her throat.

Today I am here to weigh each one of you, and check for lice.

We groaned inwardly, as this was humiliating all around. The boys wanted to weigh the most, proving their strength. The girls, not so much. The only bright spot was that we received a free pocket comb.

My friend Jenna and I discovered we were the same height and weight which was perfect for recess, and explained why we had such a grand time on the seesaw. With other playmates, I either plunked to the ground, or remained high in the air. But Jenna and I had a perfect balance. We pushed with gusto flying upward and coming down with ease. It was fun and carefree.

One of our classmates was a show-off and a bully. He would occasionally fling girls off of the seesaw, clumsily taking their place. When he pushed Jenna off one day, I was left dangling in the air. My former feeling of weightlessness and stability disappeared. I was stuck and there was little I could do. The on-duty teacher was nowhere to be found, and the boy laughed.

Maybe I will keep you stuck up there. Or I might let you go.

He gloried in wielding his power. Either option was scary: I would be stuck in the air at an awkward angle, or I would end up with a bruised tailbone.

Jenna and I opted to retire our happy-go-lucky seesaw days. Our perfect balance just wasn’t worth it. It grew tiresome to be looking over our shoulders for the big bully; our fun was over. We joined some other friends on the swings and balance bars.

****

The sovereignty of God is beautiful. It is also hard. God does not leave us on a perfectly balanced seesaw for our earthly lives. Oftentimes I feel stuck in the air, floundering with no good options in sight.

Why is the sovereignty of God beautiful? Because it brings perfect order out of this tangled mess of life. I rest in knowing that every single facet of life is ruled by God. Nothing happens outside of his permission. And since I am his daughter, I trust him.

When our children were small, I remember a cluster of kidnappings within our state. With four little beauties of our own, I sat them down for an important talk.

It is very important to remember that when your Daddy or I call your name, no matter where you are, come to us right away.

They nodded, eyes round.

Whether we are outside, or at church, or in the store, or even at home. You stop what you are doing and obey. It might not make sense to you, but we know best. We love you.

So we practiced the drill on repeat, and discussed not accepting candy or toys from strangers.

We, as Christians, are God’s children. Satan has come to destroy. He lures us with beautifully wrapped, shiny candy and pretty little charms that are nothing more than a steel trap. Our obedience to God must be a swift yes. The stunning beauty lies in the fact that no believer in Christ can ever be snatched away from God. We are his forever (John 10:28).

Why do I say the sovereignty of God is hard?

Because of intense suffering. Allowed by God; sifted through his mighty hands. It is often crushing to acknowledge that this cup might not pass (Matthew 26:39).

My only true comfort in times of pain, is the truth that God designed and fashioned each and every moment of my life. He is supremely in charge, and uses the good things, and the achingly ugly things to form me into his image.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

It is simple to spout this during the happy times: when the sun is shining and the friends are smiling, and your family is cheerful. But when betrayal and gossip and sickness and dysfunction rule the day, this is a tough medicine to swallow over and over again.

We have a sign in our home that quotes Charles Spurgeon:

Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.

Amen.

***

Back to those seesaws. Some days we fly up and down…all balanced and airy; other moments are sad and even horrific. Stability does not come from finding a perfectly balanced seesaw, but from clinging to the One who holds us. All of his promises are true.

Abraham Kuyper said it best: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”

Steady now.

God sees it all, and he permits. If you are his, he keeps you. He will never abandon nor turn away (Deuteronomy 31:6). God is holding the entire playground and is working, working on your behalf.

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