In these weeks leading up to Father’s Day, I’ve been reflecting on some of the key principles I learned from my dad during the first twenty-one years of my life before he went home to be with the Lord.
As I look back, I can see how much of the blessing that I’m experiencing today is the fruit of a foundation that my dad laid in my life and in our family by teaching us the heart and the ways of God.
One principle he greatly emphasized in our growing up years is simply stated—trust and obey. I learned from my dad the importance of resting in the sovereignty of God and then surrendering to the sovereignty of God. Resting in God’s sovereignty—that’s the trust part—and then surrendering to God’s sovereignty—that’s the obey part.
My dad had a high view of God. Most of us today have a high view of self. What matters most to us is our feelings, our thoughts, our ambitions, our plans, our ideas, and our opinions. But what should matter supremely is, “What does God think? What matters to God? What is His opinion?”
You see, my dad taught us that God is sovereign, which is a sophisticated way for saying He’s the Boss! He is in control. He is the supreme Ruler of heaven and earth.
Joy comes when we acknowledge that He is Lord, when we trust His sovereignty and surrender to it. That means that God has the right to give and He has the right to take away.
During my sophomore year of high school I saw my dad respond to a series of difficult circumstances in a way that profoundly impacted my life. The night before school started that year, our home burned in a fire. Throughout the course of that year, my dad’s business experienced unrelenting opposition, and he suffered significant financial loss. At the end of the school year, my mother went through life-threatening surgery to have a brain tumor removed.
Through it all, I watched my dad rest in God’s sovereignty; I saw him be as calm and peaceful and devoted to Christ in that season of loss and pain as he had been in previous seasons of gain and ease. He modeled a quiet confidence that God knows what He’s doing, that He is all-wise and doesn’t make mistakes. That is the year I came to believe at the core of my being that every event in our lives is being orchestrated by a wise, loving, and good God who really can be trusted.
I love that verse in Psalm 135 that says, “For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (vv. 5–6).
You see, God is in control. Whatever He pleases, He does. And if He does it, it’s because it pleases Him. We need to come to the place where we say, “Lord, if it pleases You, it pleases me. If it’s what You want, it’s what I want.”
Through my dad’s example and now through many years of personal experience, I’ve learned that we will never be more secure, more safe, more happy, and more satisfied, than when we are trusting and obeying.
What circumstances is God asking you to accept as coming from His sovereign hand? Would you take a moment to verbalize or write out a brief prayer below expressing your desire to “trust and obey”?