“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…” (1 Pet 5:6).
Twelve years ago my husband’s company awarded us a trip to Hawaii. We spent 5 glorious days in the Ritz Carlton Maui and 4 days on the remote island of Kauai. One day we took our snorkels with another couple to do some exploring. I grew up on a lake and I’m a fairly strong swimmer so I was ready for the challenge. I put my goggles and flippers on, popped in my snorkel and set to my adventure, assuming the rest of them were behind me. I found a group of scuba divers that I decided to I would follow. From the surface where I swam, they were maybe 20-30 feet below me. I suppose I lost track of time because when I looked up my group was no where to be found. I am not really sure how much time passed. But when I looked up to the rocky shore and saw my husband frantically waving his arms to get my attention. I didn’t realize it in the moment, but he thought I drowned or was perhaps lost at sea. He ordered me to come back.
I tried to swim back the way I came, but I realized I was making no headway. I exhausted myself fighting the current. I was able to go so far down the shore because I drifted along with the current. But I just didn’t have the strength in my body to swim against the ocean current.
That is sort of how life feels when we are out of sync with God’s will for us. We make no headway. We are exhausted from the fight. We just don’t have the strength to fight against Him.
But think about that verse, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” When we humble ourselves to Him, it feels quite the opposite of my snorkeling experience.
I am astonished at what those eight words say. Lay yourself under the “hand of God.” That phrase is figuratively used to symbolize God’s might, activity and power in creation as well as punishing, determining and controlling the destinies of men. My distress in life correlates directly to my recognition to whose authority I am under. I am under the dominion of a God who controls the destinies of men. He controls my destiny. When I’m fighting against that, things go very wrong.
Jeremiah wrote, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (ch 29:11). How humbling is that? There is an active, powerful God who has plans for you. Those plans are for your best life. He doesn’t just plan for your survival, but for your abundance. Do you believe Him?
Sometimes I find it a challenge to live in this truth. Whatever is happening in your life today it is because God is executing His plans for you. That seems difficult to believe when our circumstances try us. It is hard to believe that a sick child, fractured relationships, financial hardships, etc. are part of God’s destiny for us.
But Solomon recognized that both the good times and the bad ones came from the same God. He said, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future” (Ecc 7:14).
The Apostle Paul said, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us… We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace“(2Cor 1:8-10, 12).
Why do we humble ourselves under the hand of God? Because under His sovereignty we endure trials for a purpose. He intends for us to learn to trust only in His grace. How many times a day do we think that we know all the answers?
I know many of you are in a place of struggle right now. Maybe you are swimming against God’s current for your life. Recommit to humbling yourself under the hand of God. Stop relying on your wisdom. Start relying on God’s amazing grace.