The sovereignty of God seems both essential and impossible to believe.
In James 4:15 we read “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – recognizingGod’s sovereignty in what actually happens day-to-day. Still there is the troubling and essential aspect of our free will, and the free will of others who do things that we don’t like, things that we cannot reconcile with the sovereign will of God.
God reigns over us as King and Lord. We, his loyal (or otherwise) subjects, still have the opportunity to choose to obey him or not.
The above hardly begins to answer the question that I barely began to ask about the sovereignty of God and our free will.
Is Lent a time for us to be certain to listen to our King? We could do worse.
I came, I saw, I worshiped but I doubted
I wonder what the Latin would be? (Veni, vidi, venerari, dubitari, vadi)?
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and [spoke] to them…
They worshiped him – and doubted. It was hard for them to believe. Here, just a short time after the Resurrection, when they saw Jesus, risen from the dead, they worshiped him, but some doubted. When they saw Jesus, some doubted.
Then Jesus came and spoke to them. Presumably, even to the doubters. We know that He addressed at least one man’s doubts (Thomas). It was not: ‘Okay, you doubters, stand over here while I talk to the righteous, real disciples…’ No! Jesus came and said to them:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If it was difficult to believe then, we need not be surprised when we doubt. Doubt does not mean we cannot believe. We still need to go to Jesus, worship him, listen to him. If Thomas had stayed away because of doubt, he would not have heard Jesus say “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (john 20:29)
It was the eleven disciples who went, no doubt at various stages of belief, faith and doubt, but they went together. I think this is part of what it means to be the church. We gather, we see Jesus, we worship, and we hear Jesus. Then we go and do what he tells us to do.