Striving Where He Is Sovereign
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, “What are you making?” or “Your work has no handles?” Woe to him who says to a father, “What are you begetting?” or to a woman, “With what are you in labor?” —Isaiah 45:8-10
Here are two daily realities for you: God saves and God sanctifies. Further in chapter 45, Isaiah says, “Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation” (v. 17). God is the One who saves. Out of the billions of people on earth, if you are one whose eyes are open to the truth that can only be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and you have turned from your sin and embraced Christ as the only basis for your forgiveness, God made it happen. You are one of the few who are on the narrow road leading to eternal life. The fact that you are not on the broad road leading to destruction is a sovereign act of Almighty God.
You made the choice, but somehow in all of the circumstances surrounding your choice, God was completely in control. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). God sovereignly, in His grace, chose to set His love upon you. He is sovereign in salvation. But it doesn’t stop there.
He is also sovereign in sanctification. This is where the rub really comes. Read Isaiah 45:8-10 again. God is pronouncing a judgment: “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him” (v.9).
What exactly is striving with God?His Word offers two illustrations: a pot questioning its maker, and an observer questioning what is being produced by the union of two parents. These ridiculous pictures affirm the process of sanctification, by which God takes converted sinners and makes them righteous. If you are in Christ, that’s the program you’re on. God is sanctifying you; He is changing you.
This is where the rubber meets the road in regard to your faith. Are you going to fight and resist and spend your whole life wondering why you can’t have someone else’s life? Or will you allow God to be God? Cease striving and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Embrace your situation as something God has sovereignly allowed. He will bring a good purpose out of it—if you yield to Him.
Where are the friction points in your life when it comes to embracing what God has allowed for His glory? What is your plan to overcome them?
Lord, I praise You for the obvious reality of Your sovereignty in my life. I thank You for Your love in always doing what’s best for me, even when I can’t see it. Train me to be quick to recognize Your hand at work, even in the hard places of life. Open my eyes to see Your glory—always present, beyond the distractions of immediate circumstances. In Jesus’ great name I pray, amen.