A Gumby Attitude and the Sovereignty of God

You may remember Gumby, the green clay figure of the 1950’s television series created by Art Clokey. I vividly remember the Gumby Davey and Goliath series that featured the hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God by Martin Luther. The Davey and Goliath youth series dealt with issues like authority, sharing, and prejudice. I thought of an attribute of Gumby that I had not been aware of as a child that broadened my understanding of how to respond to the sovereignty of God. Let me explain.    

Recently, I noticed my lack of flexibility in life. I have subconscious ideas of how areas of my life should be. These ideas flow from what I paint, culture paints, evangelicals paint, or acquaintances paint. I’m not aware of these pre-conceived ideas until the canvas of my life doesn’t reflect these ideas. When this lack of conformity occurs, I feel defeated. A failure.

I have found seasons of life bring different relationships, friends, ministries, interests, perspectives, outcomes, and routines (to name just a few). With these differences come losses of what use to be. Life has brought changes that lead me in different ways. But wait…is it life or is it God bringing the changes? I believe it is God, who is sovereign, bringing the changes. The fact that God is sovereign informs how I should respond when life does not look like the ideas that I have allowed to be painted in my mind.  

Sovereignty can be defined as, “The biblical concept of God’s kingly, supreme rule and legal authority over the entire universe.”[1] Since God is sovereign (the book of Daniel; Jer 32:17; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11), He is the source of the changes that occur in my life. “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” Psalm 115:3 and “Heaven rules” Daniel 4:27 come to my mind. Also, I know that God is holy, good, loving, omnipotent, provider, righteous, and wise so I can trust His sovereign acts.

I realize when I feel like a failure, feel defeated, whine, or blame others because my ideas of life do not occur, I am not really believing God is sovereign. However, since God is sovereign, I can embrace these changes with hope, peace, and joy empowered by Him. Furthermore, unexpected changes can be an invitation to ask God what He wants to teach me and how He wants to conform me to His Son’s image.   

So back to a Gumby attitude. I use to think of flexibility as a rubber band. But in God’s economy, flexibility is more like Gumby. Gumby bends and moves in all directions and he has hands to serve. I need to be willing to serve wherever my Sovereign Lord places me. God designs and He assigns.[2] How about you, where have you struggled about serving because it is in a different place than you have allowed to be painted in your mind? Or maybe your struggle is with a relationship that looks different than you envisioned. Or maybe it is your physical well-being is not what you expected. I’m asking God to remove any expectant ideas I have erroneously allowed to be in my mind and replace them with only His ideas!

Perhaps completing this sentence would help you and me reflect on our response to where God has allowed changes in our lives, “Since I believe God is sovereign, I will embrace _________ with peace, hope, and joy empowered by Him.” I think a Gumby attitude will help me walk in a manner worthy of the calling God has placed on my life (2 Thess 1:11). How about you?           

Image “Gumby: A Review.” Fanbyte.com. Accessed July 3, 2023. https://cdn.fanbyte.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Gumby_-1024×500.jpg?x71907.

[1] Stanley J. Getz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 109.

[2] Martha Arnhart (lecture, Bible Study Fellowship, Longview, TX, May 3, 2023). 

PJ Beets is passionate about encouraging women and children through the Scriptures and life to see the compassionate God who redeems the rejected by acceptance, the silenced by expression, the labored by grace, and the lonely by love in order to set them free to serve in His ordained place and way for them individually and corporately. She has served the Lord through Bible Study Fellowship and her home church in various capacities with women and children. Upon turning fifty, she sought the Lord on how He would have her finish well which began her journey at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies as well as a Doctor of Educational Ministry in Spiritual Formation, both from from DTS. PJ is married to Tom, has three children, and six grandchildren.

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