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!