A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Handford

“Ain’t Nobody Gonna Tell Me What to Do,” Van Zant sang. Fifty years ago Frank Sinatra sang, “I Did It My Way.” It’s the theme of most of Rock music, and expresses the attitude of our culture today. “I will do what I want to do and I will not conform to anyone else’s rules.” Hence we have now protest marches against almost everything!

In the Bible book of Jude, God describes such rebels against authority as “Like wild waves of the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness.

Planets leaving their orbits? Wandering stars in our universe? You can imagine the terrible destruction that would happen if Mars or Venus should leave their orbits and collide with the earth. (Thank God that isn’t going to happen: Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son . . . sustains the universe by the mighty power of His command.” Our universe is controlled by the Almighty God who created it.)

Scientists used to think the atom the smallest thing in the universe. Now they know that atoms have neutrons and protons and electrons in orbit, Scientists can accelerate a plutonium proton out of its orbit to collide with an electron. When they do, it creates a nuclear bomb that does incredible harm. Particles pushed out of orbit are as dangerous as planets out of their orbits.

We human beings also have an “orbit,” a place in God’s world where we can accomplish what He wants us to accomplish. If we reject the authority God has put over us, it can be disastrous.

Here’s how orbits work in the human realm. Suppose I want a bowl of corn flakes for breakfast. I simply pour out the cereal, sprinkle Splenda on it, pour milk on it, and eat. Simple? No, not really. Innumerable people had to work in their particular orbits for my simple bowl of cereal. Somebody grew the wood for the lumber for the barn for the cow, and somebody built it. Somebody planted the grain for the cow, somebody milked the cow, processed the milk, packaged it, took it to the store, and somebody checked out my groceries. That’s one tiny part of the complicated task of producing the milk alone!

That’s true for a million other things that make up the fabric of our lives. Life requires organization and training. Then it requires people in authority who are themselves responsible to other authorities, and the obedience to authority of those under them, to make it work.

Thank God that in our dear country, unlike the rest of the world, we have the opportunity to make choices about where we live, where we work, where we go to church. But wherever we live, whatever career we choose, whether we are single or have a family, we must fulfill the duties of that orbit: we must obey the authorities over us. And disobedience, to any authority, has terrible consequences.

Thank God that obedience is a place of deep joy and fulfillment as we do our tasks heartily, in our orbit, for the Lord Jesus. Because we are human, there will be glitches, disappointment, hard choices. But there’s something wonderful in being able to say as we face a new day, “Today God has a plan for me, and I will obey it with all my heart.”

I delight to do Your will,
O my God,
And Your law is written on my heart. Psalm 40:8

And in obeying God, I will obey those authorities whom He has put