Sitting and Standing

Isn’t it safe to say that when we feel we are losing control, we often stand up?

If we get excited with anticipation—like at a ball game—we stand up. I don’t know about you, but when I worry, I stand up and pace. If I’m waiting, I stand up and sit down, stand up and sit down.

And if the guy in front of me stands up to see, so do I. There are occasions when I stand up to make my point, as well as times when I stand up to defend my point.

If I were to ask you to enumerate what the Apostle John saw in his revelation about heaven, your list would be long. And if we were to all get together later to decide which of the listed things was most important, I think we could conclude that the answer is in Revelation 4:2: “[I saw] a throne in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.”

Notice! God is sitting down.

Control. Anticipation. Worry. Waiting. Vision. Power. Authority. All of these—and more—are issues surrounding God and His people. And yet, He is seated on His throne.

It may feel like I am out of control, but God is not threatened by ominous circumstances. I don’t find any verses in the Scriptures that talk of Him wringing His hands or getting up to go get an antacid. It would really surprise me to find out that He has chewed off one of His fingernails.

I cannot picture Him saying, “Well, I never thought about that.” Or, “Uh-oh.” And I certainly don’t see Him jumping up and saying, “Don’t they know who I am?” Or, “Oh, no!”

He is secure enough, and confident enough, and big enough, and powerful enough to keep His seat…no matter what. And it isn’t that He doesn’t care. He cares immensely, as is evidenced by Calvary. 

There are times when the daily storm howls loudly enough that I need a little more confidence than simply knowing God indwells me.

So, while clinging to His indwelling presence, I focus on the fact that no matter how bad it is here, it is not bad enough to cause Him to get up from His seat. Whatever anxiety, frets, and hurdles are encircling me, they are not enough to wrench me from His hands (Jn. 10:29).

Even though it might feel like it, there is simply no need for Him to get up. Everything is under control.

So, does God ever stand up and get out of His chair?

Jesus told a great parable about God our Father standing up. He begins the scene with God seated, indicative of the respect, honor, and esteem due Him. He emanates dignity, influence, power, authority, and great wealth.

But He also portrays God as subject to stress. The potential to worry lurks. He is waiting. His power is harnessed and His authority is in check. But, He is patient. Watching.

In Christ’s story, He is looking for me.

As I make my way down the road toward home, Jesus says that God sees me from a long way off. Doing the unexpected, not clinging to His reputation, dignity, or position, God jumps up from His seat—behaving much more like a Father than like God—and runs down the road to meet me.

In true Fatherly fashion, He interrupts my planned speech of contrition to express His own thoughts. “Bring the best robe and a new pair of shoes! Catch the spotted calf, and prepare a feast! Call the family and set the table with enough chairs for everyone. Seat the musicians and have them play happy tunes. I have found My son and it is time to sit down together and get caught up.”

As nearly as I can tell, there is only one thing important enough for God to leave His throne. All of the universe’s challenges, ills, opportunities, and benefits do not compare in His mind to the importance of one man making his way toward home.

For all of the security I find in God being seated on His throne, I find more knowing He does not hesitate to leave His throne and run to meet me.

No matter where I am on the road, there are two images that provide great comfort: One is of God seated on His throne, holding me and the times of my life in His capable hands. The other is of Him running to meet me, so overjoyed in seeing me that He hardly has time for all of my explanations.