Hidden Authority

crowd waiting

Everyone must submit to the governing authorities,
for there is no authority except from God,
and those that exist are instituted by God.

Romans 13:1 HCSB

I’m churning through some authority issues, so my next several posts will likely have that in common. Now maybe this would normally be the post that contains a general overview of my dealings with authority, but today I’m just so irritated by the authorities that God has put in place in the world, that I’m skipping the overview and going straight to “what kind of Kafkaesque garbage is this?!”


When was the last time you went to the DMV? Sitting there in a damp room, trying not to vomit as bleach wars with pungent body odor in a race to burn out your sense of smell…delightful! Every human being who desires to drive or vote legally is subject to the whims of the DMV.  And that authority best known for its cruel incompetence comes from God.

I was watching a period drama on PBS, and I suddenly wondered: “Who in the world created these intricate and stressful, 45-minute long, aristocratic dances? Who put men in tights and knickerbockers and wigs? Who put women in whalebone corsets and 14 layers of petticoats over 12 foot hoops?” Some seriously damaged kid grew up with a cross heart and a penchant for sadism – and God gave them authority to set the fashion styles.

These are the authorities that have recently come to mind, and I could talk about 15 others just like these. We are fools suffering at the hands of fools (and making other fools suffer) every day. It’s not just the government, or your boss, or your parents, or your pastor, or any of the other “traditional” authority figures we know. It’s the Post Office and the bank and the clothes you wear and the car you drive and the food you eat. Behind every aspect of our lives is authority, usually hidden from our direct acquaintance.

I have never seen this micro-view of authority before, and I find it irritating. I am irritated because there’s another level of surrender coming, and I really don’t like it. It’s one thing to accept that I answer to the government, police, etc., but it’s something else entirely to submit to “Betsy” in the customer service department when she is able to keep me from what I want.

This is a new surrender for me, and it’s not a fun ride so far, but I know that it’s necessary. Most of my stress comes from the dozens of life details that are out of my control, and I am astonished at how many are connected with the issue of authority. I have experienced enormous heart-healing with every submission to God’s authority, and I suspect that this time will be no different. So I’m choosing to bow and I’m thanking God for the many “tiny despots” – as John calls them.

God, grant us the grace to bow to Your Authority wherever we meet it, whether great or small!

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    • Gaby

      Oh, yes! I know that place!
      As I ever had a strong longing for “justice” and “fairness” I have been learning without enthusiasm to accept what I find. Whenever I managed by gnashing my teeth not to take over the situation and tell everybody what’s the right way to do it, i found myself surprised by HIm. He went in and changed it.
      Not always, but many, many times He just came and put it right!
      He is not interested in letting foolish things go on foolish and incompetent leaders do what they want. He wants to demonstrate He is ruling the rulers. He is the only one in charge if I just let Him.

      • Sam

        And thank you too Gaby

    • pearl

      Wow, I’m still learing about the “BIG” authorities… which are not to my pleasing…but I’ve learned they are set up BY our God…All authority is…and He is good …so Him setting them up is good…And its His word which is good and true…maybe someday I’ll get to understand the little ‘a’ authorities…not sure if I know much about that yet!! I love John Beveres book Under Cover and Watchman Nee, Spiritual Authority and some of Martha’s teaching on this subjuct..I feel so far behind and just catching up in this area…after some real deliverance recently….Watchman Nee says , something to the effect of when we finally SEE authority , we will then see Authority everywhere….thats the place I desire to be!!!

      • Sam

        Thank you for the quote.

      • pearl

        The quote by Watchman Nee says, “If you ever once in your life meet authority you will then be able to see God’s authority everywhere.”

    • Sam

      Hahaha!!!! What a joy to read you Jen!

      joy joy joy

    • Tina

      I am finding peace and safety in it as I submit to a situation that naturally looks all wrong. It is God’s daily grace that gives me His perspective to remind me…it is truly Him, Father, that I trust with all of me, all things concerning me. I think I will spend the rest of my life learning to live it out but at least I see the path and am on it and am tasting the sweet fruit of it! Rebelling against it, not trusting in God to take care of me has cost me a high price. One which I am praying for mercy that He will redeem and restore!

      • Sam

        Tina, I mean…

      • Sam

        Thank you Gaby.

    • Josh

      You make a great point Jen. It’s a constant reminder of who we are, the son of Adam. It’s our adamic nature to “know” what is good and not good – right vs. wrong. By our own lawless authority we want to choose “what should be”, or “how it should work”, in all our circumstances, and even others’. Or maybe, a constant reminder of who we are not, if we choose to be in the Light. Thanks for sharing your/our struggle and your commitment to submitting to His authority.

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