I have recently been thinking a lot on the subject of God's sovereign control over my life. I have a situation that has been bugging me, basically something that I really, really want to happen, and it has become pretty clear that this thing is NOT going to happen for me. I have agonized and prayed and wrestled with the why of it all, wondering why God would not give me this thing that would mean so much to me, blah blah blah - we've all been there. I've run the gamut of emotions - angry, sad, frustrated, depressed, angry some more, at God, at the individual(s) related to the circumstance who had the decision in their hands, and therefore, in my mind, the power to give me what I want.
As time went on and I realized I really needed to get past this issue and LET IT GO, for gosh sakes (I'm not detailing what it is here, but in the big picture of life it's really not a huge thing, but it's been a really big disappointment for me), and that I needed to turn to God to get there. I began reasoning it out: Do I believe God is in control of everything? Yes, I do. Do I believe that if this thing I want was God's will and purpose for me, he could make it happen? Yes, I do. So if I do, then logic follows that if it's not happening, then it's not part of God's plan for me. Now I had to grudgingly and unhappily concede this point, because I'd much rather blame the person who made the decision. And I realize that it could be that this person is going against God's will in this issue. And you might say, well God doesn't bother with small matters like this. But I am choosing to believe that, because I sincerely wanted it so badly, and prayed quite a bit about it, God would have granted it for me, but for some reason he had other plans and this was not what he wanted for me at this time. Then in Bible study this week, I was reading a whole lesson on God's power and how there is nothing that happens on this earth that he does not either ordain and control or allow to happen. That's a biggie - allow to happen. God doesn't make everything happen, or not happen, but he does allow things, all for his ultimate plan.
Then, one day this week I was watching Oprah, and Susan St. James (remember her from McMillan and Wife-if you're old like me-or Kate and Allie if you are younger) and her husband and sons on to talk about the plane crash last year that injured her husband and one son and killed another one, 14 years old. They were discussing the tragedy and how they dealt with it, and it was a very moving program. At one point Oprah asked Susan about how she dealt with her grief, and she shared that she was raised Catholic (I think, not sure) and that she had to come to terms with why God would allow this to happen. She basically said that she came to the conclusion that when Adam and Eve left the Garden and man was given free will, that God's power was taken away and God just looks on, and the world unfolds as it should.
Now, this statement caused me to stop what I was doing and just look at the TV for a minute. This was so completely the opposite of the beliefs that I had just reaffirmed about God, and it just made me sad, that the only way someone could accept the loss of a child was to believe that God had no control over it. I have never suffered such a loss, and without walking in those shoes I cannot really say how I'd react, but I sure hang on to the hope that my faith would carry me through that valley of sadness.
This is kind of a heavy post, but it was just on my mind this week. God really is in control, and if we believe that, really really believe it, then we have to look at every circumstance of our lives through that lens, and try to understand, or at least learn from, each situation that happens to us.
There was a short-lived show recently on NBC (which I shall blog about later) called The Book of Daniel. Very controversial, but I just wanted to mention a bit of dialogue that made me go "YES, that's how a real, personal relationship with Jesus sounds!" Daniel, who is an Episcopalian minister who is quite flawed and has a really messed up family. His mother has Alzheimer's, but is still quite functional and alternates between normally lucid and not knowing who family members are. It was portrayed in a very sad and moving way - she was a very elegant, still beautiful woman, and the pain in her husband's face and the rest of the family as well was so realistic. Anyway, Daniel was talking with Jesus, who is a character and they have someone dressed as Jesus occasionally walking by, riding with, whatever, Daniel, as they talk about things. Now, I really liked this because that's kind of how I visualize my relationship with Jesus - he's right next to me as I talk to him. So Daniel looks at his mother in the other room, and says to Jesus, "Can't you do anything for her?" And Jesus replies, "You know it doesn't work like that." And Daniel ruefully says, "Yeah, I know. I just don't know why." Now THAT's real. That's how I think a Christian with a real, raw, honest, transparent relationship with Christ would think about a situation like that. It's not a matter of can he or can't he, but just will he, and we don't always know the why or why not.
That's what I'm talkin' about.