I sometimes have a hard time understanding the sovereignty of God in tandem with the responsibility of Man. The Bible is clear that God is sovereign over all things, but equally clear that man is responsible for his own actions. I know that both can be true at the same time, but the inter-workings of their co-existence is a mystery to my finite brain. I’m grateful I have an infinite God who knows, understands, and orchestrates this mystery perfectly.
I recently read an article a woman who writes for Boundless and the article was also featured by the Washington Post. She talks about the difficulties in dating and how no one really sees past her weight. How church friends and guys are more concerned about her weight than her personality, abilities, and other physical attractive qualities. It was an thought provoking article. As someone who used to be a size 8 and is now somewhere between a 16/18, I can sympathize and relate to some of what she says. I’m not going to get into the weight debate and whether it’s right or not. There’s a lot of different sides and some legitimate and not so legitamate points on all sides. That is not what got me thinking.
Self-control is clearly stated in Scripture and I am often guilty of lacking it. It is one of the areas I’m actively seeking to change in. But, just because someone is overweight does not always mean there is a self-control (i.e. sin) issue. As with most things in life, there may be more to the story than one can see from a cursory glance at the surface. I know so many godly women that struggle with weight because of health-related reasons. And that might mean (like it does for me) that there is a combination of sin and health problems that cause that extra pudge. But, we can’t automatically assume that someone just needs to eat a little less. Oh, if it was just that simple.
So, what’s a girl to do? There’s an aspect of this I can change, but much of it is out of my control. My body just doesn’t cooperate. I don’t want to look the way I do. Honestly, it’s been tempting to look at the sky and remind God that this just isn’t fair. I had a hard enough time when I was younger and skinny, but now? In a sex-crazed, body-image-is-everything world, why would He allow an illness that I can’t fix (at least right now). I’ve tried to obey and follow his leading. I’ve tried to be faithful. Why, oh why, do I have to deal with this too? If I’m brutally honest, it’s easy to give up and just assume that I know exactly what the rest of my life will be like.
But, then the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit brings me back to truth and reality. He faithfully and lovingly reminds me of several very important facts…
- I am fearfully & wonderfully made.
- I am made in the image of God.
- I am a redeemed daughter of the King of the Universe.
- Health, marriage, children, and pretty much everything else are gifts. I’m not entitled to them. I wasn’t promised them. I can’t demand them.
- God is sovereign over all things. I may not understand all of the mysteries surrounding His sovereignty, but that does not negate the validity of it. And while I take full responsibility for my actions; I believe that what God has ordained will come to pass. If I am supposed to get married, it will happen. End of story. I am simply (thought trust me it doesn’t feel simple!) called to faithfully (not perfectly) follow His leading. He’s God and nothing stops His plan.
Human responsibility is clearly displayed in Scripture, but I think it’s wrong and it limits God’s power when we assume that something like weight, a strong personality, or fill in the blank will thwart God’s plan.
Maybe I’m off track here, I’m no theologian. But the God I grew up reading about in Sunday School was a lot bigger than David’s small stature, Peter’s unbelief, and David’s horrific sin. They all faced consequences, but God’s loving and gracious plan for their lives was not changed. And for me, that brings a lot of hope and peace!