Monday, September 21, 2009

Unbelievable Providence
Ep: I don’t share your atheistic view. Just as the Lord tells us that the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous, God’s providence is represented in a tree spearing a young woman who lives and a wheelchair cutting a young man who died*. You know, our pastor asked a question one day. “Why do good things happen to bad people?’ A: “There are no good people.” Our finite brains like to try to place ourselves in judgment of God (how could a God be so loving….etc.). I was brought to Christ in painful circumstances. I place myself in judgment of God to have said “wow, that was random” or shaking my fist at God and saying that I was a good person and this shouldn’t be happening. I suppose it makes me sound weak and pitiful, but, honestly, that’s what I am. That’s the reflection of the power that each and everyone of us has. And, for me (and for the vast majority), it took a moment of pain (or moments) to realize how helpless and in need of something larger than this bag of bones I am. And, while I’ll assume you disagree, it’s depressing to think of a world as total random with no purpose and no being. That God is as helpless as I am at doing anything or that there are these surprises that God “wakes up” and says “whoa, didn’t see that one coming. I better do something.” I suppose a total divergence of world views there.

* – a local man got cut on a wheel chair which imparted a flesh eating virus and was dead within a few days.

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I think I disagree with you (sort of). I may be taking this in a completely wrong manner, so sorry if I misunderstood. I would say that if you hold to the sovereignty of God, you hold that His hand was in the 30 minute response time that saved the life of Pastor Tom Nelson and also the lack of response time for my aunt who died of the same ailment (heart attack, home alone). What we do, however, is to have a tendency to focus on the here and now. When we survive (or have someone survive), we're here to say "how great is the sovereignty of God". My aunt wasn't around afterward to say "God has called me home, how great is the sovereignty of God, I no longer suffer in that bag of bones!" I think you are spot in that this (and something like my aunt's death) should serve as a reminder of a life dedicated to God (see Piper's messages around his dad's death....and another recent post that caused much consternation....).

As a person who holds to the sovereignty of God (Psalm 139, Prov 16, Isa 37, Psalm 65, Matthew 10, Col 1, etc.), a God who isn't all knowing or without plan is scary (to note, I'm sure the feeling the other direction might be mutual). If there is not plan by God, then He is a reactionary God, who essentially lives by the seat of His pants. He doesn't know the end from the beginning, thus, where is all of this really going? I also hold that we don't get to question God (as Christ said to Peter, what is that to you?). So we mourn, we may rhetorically ask "why", but when it comes to God's motives, we are not to question. Doubts, fears, yes. But His plan is perfect. His will is perfect. His reasons are unflinchingly for good. I suppose mostly, knowing something in advance doesn't imply enjoyment in the individual pieces of the plan. God knows when the wicked prosper, the righteous suffer and when seemingly nothing happens in our lives as we go to work, play with the kids, eat dinner and go to bed, then wake up and do exactly the same thing again.

Ferg: Good to hear from you again. I'm glad your visit didn't cause you to stop talking to us :-).

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You were spot on about how I read your comment. Excellent clarification. I agree and well said. I love the picture you paint of putting real people in the place of my pictures of Job or David, etc. Lewis mentions the mental picture that we often have of "togas and sandals and armour and bare legs". These were real men and women, fearing just as we do.

I am moved by God’s hand protecting this lady, stopping the branch and letting it rest on her [jugular].

Very well said! And I always crack up at the string literal post stuck between aging and child marriage.


I, too, understand the struggle you mention. I wouldn’t say anything different from those a few months ago when this came ‘round back then, so I suppose we disagree at that point (as a reasoning for going against sovereignty....if I understand you correctly, that is). Good to hear from you again.

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For me, sovereignty does not negate the responsibility. You can do all of the things you state. If you did, I could, with all confirmation, state that it was in God’s plan. Any millisecond after right now (in the future), though, is entirely in God’s hand. So to flatly answer you question, no, you cannot avoid the “bullet (or branch) with your name on it”, but neither should you live your life pretending you know which branch is the one for you or pretending there isn’t a branch with your name on it. It’s the consequences of your decision (ordained and fully known from the beginning).

Take a personal example. God called me through a very painful divorce. I learned through that pain. I could have sulked and wallowed in the "why God?" questions (I was blessed to not fall into that trap). But a greater good came out of what, individually, was evil. We sometimes get a glimpse of the sure outworking of God’s plan. It’s beautiful. The danger comes when we demand the view of the outworking of that plan as a right.

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Yes, without question for me. He used evil to work for good.

Actually, that’s something that strikes me when I think about it. One of the questions could be why I wasn’t angry about “having” to go through that. Or why, if God hates divorce, did He allow it. The answer is that I don’t know. But one thing I do know. I am glad that God is so longsuffering in patience that I, even I, now call His name.

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