Sunday, August 11, 2013

God is never shocked

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 33:1-22

TO CHEW ON: "The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations ....
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works." Psalm 33:11, 14,15

On April 28, 2012 three families traveling on the highway between Fort McMurray to Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) were all but wiped out in a head-on collision. In an instant nine (and a half) dwindled to two. Only the three year-old son of Pastor Shannon Wheaton's family and Mark Penny (whose pregnant wife was killed) survived the crash. The three family members in the other vehicle were also killed. (Read about the accident here.)

Why, we ask? To us the shattering of these families makes no sense. Predictable questions rise in our minds:
- Couldn't God have prevented the accident?
- Didn't evil triumph over good here?

In answer to that last question—yes. In one way every time someone dies evil triumphs over good. For death, from whatever cause, is part of the curse that came on earth because of mankind's first choice to defy God and do our own thing, i.e. sin.

But looked at another way, such happenings never shock God. He is aware of each event. He is more than aware. In a way, He planned them (or maybe better said, 'planned for them') in the first place:
"The counsel (that is the whole program for mankind in history) stands forever;/The plans of His heart to all generations" - Psalm 33:11.

Neither is He just a God of the big plan, but He knows each individual:
"...He looks / on all the inhabitants of the earth;/He fashions their hearts individually;/He considers all their works" - Psalm 33:14,15.

If God knows, plans and ok's each event in my life, your life, the Wheaton's and Penney's lives, from the wonderful to the tragic, and He is good, you and I need to keep trusting Him even in the circumstances that seem like they got away from Him for a minute. Because they didn't.

And so we find hope and comfort in the very God who permits tragedy to touch our lives. As Gerry Bridges explains it in Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts:
"All people—believers as well as unbelievers—experience anxiety, frustration, heartache, and disappointment. Some suffer intense physical pain and catastrophic tragedies. But that which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful, and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good" - Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, p. 33.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to trust Your sovereignty and goodness in situations that feel all wrong. Amen.

MORE: A trust workout
"...just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don't feel like it. The act of the will though, must be based on belief and that belief must be based on truth.

The truth we must believe is that God is sovereign. He carries out His own good purposes without ever being thwarted, and He so directs and controls all events and all actions of His creatures that they never act outside of His sovereign will. We must believe this and cling to this in the face of adversity and tragedy, if we are to glorify God by trusting Him" - Jerry Bridges, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, p. 54.

Bible Drive-Thru

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  1. Violet, I feel you handled a really difficult and controversial subject well here. It touched my heart. I also was grabbed by the headline, a good blogging strategy. Great job.

  2. Why thank you, Diana! One thing I've found about blogging through Bible readings chosen by someone else is that you can't write about just the easy concepts.

    If you'd like to do more reading around the subject of God's sovereignty and goodness the Gerry Bridges book from which I quote is excellent.

  3. "PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to trust Your sovereignty and goodness in situations that feel all wrong. Amen."



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