My hope is that the Spirit uses these posts on God’s sovereignty to widen our view of the pain, suffering and wounds that we incurred at the hands of our formative relationships. Many of these hurts are like an engram on our souls—scars that mark us as fallen in a fallen world. Though we may recover our autonomy, the effects of some of these wounds may leave a permanent limp in our gait.
So who is to blame? When I’ve been wounded, I can look for someone to pay for my affliction. Blame, rage, revenge, retaliation – all of these are common human responses. But the spiritual man takes the agony to God. His questioning eventually comes to what the Lord is after rather than why He did it – a yielding rather than demanding. The question “What,” is a facing of God’s sovereignty and a bare-chested receiving of His Lordship in our lives.
How do I get free? We will experience true wholeness when we can see our wounds through the lens of His crippling touch to the thigh of our strength – a great gift and not a damaging curse (Genesis 32:25).
Sovereignty is one of those realities that scare us to the core of our being. It can be a bitter pill or comforting proof of the Lord’s God-ness. Sovereignty tests our faith, even after we come to know God as perfectly good. We need this goodness as we learn to rest in His huge hands. It’s very primal to fear His sovereignty. “If the Master of the Universe chooses to work painful situations in my life, then I am the most vulnerable of all creatures. If He doesn’t save me from pain but uses it, then I am truly at His mercy.” And that is so frightening!
Most of us equate pain with the absence of love. The next natural progression of this thought is to assume that if my Creator worked pain in my life, then He doesn’t love me. And if He doesn’t love me, what hope do I have? This is an ill-informed way of viewing our pain, but even when that view is checked or challenged, our fearful hearts aren’t pacified. Having anyone in control of my life and pain is daunting. And most of us, if we’re honest, prefer to control things ourselves rather than accept HIS sovereignty.
God is always right! I was listening to a sermon by Derek Prince the other day, and he started it out with the sovereign majesty of God. Here is a quote of what he said:
“One of the essential requirements for being able to receive Biblical prophecy is a right appreciation of the sovereignty, the majesty, and the justice of God. God is always just. He never makes mistakes; everything He does is right. Some of you have been going through situations where you have been wondering whether God wasn’t making a mistake or wasn’t being unfair. But that’s a wrong attitude.”
I think that’s always our temptation – to assume God is making a mistake or is being unfair. But unfortunately, I know this much: we don’t come to understand His ways by questioning His sovereignty. We look to Him, bow to His sovereign hand, and then we begin to understand His ways.
Here is how this scenario played out for Nebuchadnezzar.
But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”
Daniel 4:34-35 HCSB
What is so amazing about this post, John, is the laser-like quality of the Spirit. This is precious oil; my eyes are finally open to how costly and precious is this gift you share so freely. Bless the Name of Jesus for giving this
Wow, John, this is really the key and I’ve heard Martha share along similar lines; but it really hit me in a powerful way as I read your words: “His questioning eventually comes to WHAT the Lord is after rather than WHY He did it”. We’re so consumed with the WHY and getting that understanding, but God is focused on the WHAT…and once we align with that focus, the agony and memory of the pain is abated! And as I’ve heard Martha share, we can even come to the place of thanking God for allowing it because of the fruit… Read more »
I really liked your thought: “the spiritual man takes everything to God”. That is such a hopeful thought.
(Not because I am good at it, but because it asks me NOT be good at anything)
Your writing today made me ponder what feelings of fear or wrong Jesus had to fight with. After all, if He condemned flesh in flesh, somehow He had to test/taste all of flesh gamut we also taste/test during some of our days here. He felt fear, He felt abandonment, He felt mistreated, He felt abused, He felt sore pain. “I am overwhelmed with sorrow” He said. There must be a background not-so-sweet for that to take place in His Person. I always forget He tasted everything we taste. That means we are not alone, though it might feel so. Abandonment… Read more »
“The author who benefits you is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been struggling for utterance in you.”
Excerpt From: Chambers, Oswald. “My Utmost for His Highest, Classic Edition.”
Bless you John