The reality of God’s sovereignty has caused many sleepless nights in my 9 years as a Christian. I don’t loose sleep over wrestling with the complexities of how this works itself out in time and space with real human beings who make real decisions. Rather, it is the sometimes painful reality that God rules over each human being’s eternal destiny. He has mercy on who He will have mercy.
I go through a range of emotional responses during these long nights. But what I find myself coming back to is this: He is God and I am not. As we are told by Him in Exodus 34:6-7, He is “The Lord, The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty….” this same Lord chooses whom he will shower that mercy upon. He says this of himself, just a few verses before, when Moses asked to see His glory: “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19)
So he is, as He tells us, gracious and merciful and in control of how that grace and mercy is shown. Imagine he wasn’t? Imagine it was me who was in charge of pursuing people to show them mercy and grace. It would probably look something like this: “You, the one whose personality I mesh with and have deep conversations with, I will show you mercy. And you, the one who is well dressed and good looking, I will show you mercy too. And now you, I am feeling pretty good today, so I will show you mercy too….but just make sure you stay on my good side and keep speaking to me in my love language or else I may decide to show you another side of my character.”
God is not like me. He does not show mercy because of what we provide him nor is he partial to the well dressed and pretty. He is not governed by his feelings, rather he binds his mercy to us with a promise that it will never leave us. His mercy and grace is beautiful. It calls out to those who don’t get along with him. In fact, His calls on his enemies to receive his mercy. He calls on those whose sins are like scarlet. He call on those who have been brutal and unloving to others. He calls on those who have lived with bitterness their whole lives. He calls on those who are weary and heavy laden. He calls them all to come and receive his mercy and grace because he wants them to know his mercy and grace.
So, the next time I lie awake at night and think about the profound reality of God’s sovereignty, I pray that he helps me remember that there is not one else like him. There is not one person on this earth whose mercy is as extensive as his. He is God and we are not. I pray that my soul would rest there and go forth into the world with that amazing message, for his names sake and for the good of all people.