At a recent meeting with all of our staff and administrators, I loudly spoke the word “no” in answer to a question the guest speaker assumed we would say, “Yes.” The pause was noticeable. Unfortunately (at least for me, probably), the administrators were seen to sit silently with eyes cast down. There may be repercussions, I don’t know. What is clear to me is my own distrust in the system, the change, and the oversight in our agency. I guess my opinion is clear to all at this point.
What was I thinking when I answered? Was I certain that I would be heard and vindicated? Did I expect that others would support my views? To be frank, I didn’t even think about counting the cost of bringing my discontent to the ears of my supervisors.
In Romans 13, Paul instructed the Christians who were living under the cruel rule of Nero to obey authority. I wonder what they thought about this since Nero used Christians for sport in the bloodbath arena of the Coliseum. I don’t have to fear that kind of persecution, so my outburst is not likely to result in death. However, kicking against those who God has placed over me is not a thing God takes lightly. In fact, my submission to authority can be viewed as an act of submission to God Himself.
Leaders are humans, apt to make mistakes, and sometimes even prone to do more harm than good – nothing novel about this. However, only God has the power to place or remove authority over us. We learn to follow God through the instruction and experience of submitting to leaders who are not perfect. The short term outcome may not be of our choosing, yet in the long run we will have learned to submit to God. Only Christ can lead with perfection. Isaiah describes what the world will be like when He does; the new structure will be so different from what we’ve known that we will be amazed. A lion eating straw? A time when a prayer is answered without pain in between the asking and the giving?
So why do I throw myself into the turning wheels of an earthly institution as a wrench thrown into the spokes of a wheel? What will it profit me? Lord, God, teach me to understand Your sovereignty through earthly authority. I will choose to follow the authority over me in this life and learn to obey Your commandments of submission so that You will call me home to a perfect world of peace and rejoicing under Your great kingship.