Today, we’re continuing my post from yesterday, “Where is God in Your Very ‘Worst Thing’? Part 1…
When I was twelve years old, my father died. This is one of the things on my “worst things that ever happened to me” list, though at the time I wasn’t into considering the category of “worst things,” except in fiction, perhaps. The faith of my father and mother was the kind that didn’t look at life through a “that’s good, that’s bad” lens.
My father, who had become a Christian a mere eight years before his death, lived his life with a passionate desire to please God, not a passionate desire that God please Him. His life verse was Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Among my mom’s life verses were Proverbs 3:5,6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” She had a God-centered mind-set. She was known for another oft-quoted verse: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”
(Psalm 118:24). She told us this was the verse she said to herself “when things didn’t seem to be going [her] way.”
Growing up in this home, it would never have occurred to me to question God. The idea of His “sovereignty” never came up; it was assumed.
However, a girl who loses her father as a preteen has suffered a great loss, whether acknowledged or not. That loss had tremendous developmental implications for me, as it does for many — if not most — girls, whether the loss is via death or divorce. By college, I began to wonder (even obsess a bit) about what God had been up to back then. When I was talking to a friend about it, he said, “You’re so egocentric.” I didn’t know what he was getting at, but I was pretty sure this wasn’t a compliment. He said, “You act like you are the center of the universe. You know, your father’s death didn’t happen primarily to you. It happened primarily to your father.” Whoa! That was like a splash of cold water. A mean splash of cold water.
Hating the idea of being egocentric, but recognizing a seed of truth in my friend’s words, I stuffed the question down. This was not resolved for me until ten years later, when I was considering marriage. The idea of losing a husband to death made me prefer forgoing marriage. My pastor counseled me to read the book of Job. (If you struggle with the sovereignty of God, you should do this, too.) When I came to chapter 38, I was stunned. My eyes were opened wide and my mouth, like Job’s, was shut.
1 “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said….
4 ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.’”
God continued to catalog His sovereign works, asking Job repeatedly, “Have you…? Can you…?” He contrasted His creativity, power, wisdom, and authority with man’s human weakness and ignorance. In chapter 40, He challenged Job even more directly.
1 “And the Lord said to Job:
2 ‘Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.’
3 Then Job answered the Lord and said:
4 ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
5 I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further.’
6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
8 ‘Will you even put Me in the wrong?
Will you condemn Me that you may be in the right?'”
There’s a little bit of Job in all of us. Not necessarily the patience part, for which Job is so well known, but the part that is inclined to argue with God.
Have you considered that questioning God is telling Him that He is wrong? That your need to be right is so strong that you are willing to condemn the Creator of the universe, the King of Glory? Actually, to be His judge and jury?
You know what? God, in his merciful love and desire to redeem us, allowed sinful man to be not only Christ’s judge and jury, but His executioner as well! Not because we were right and He was wrong. To the contrary.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Sovereign God,
The Creator of the universe,
The One whose actions the world rebukes,
The One whose actions even we, as Christians, question at times,
Took the most radical action in the history of the universe.
He exchanged His rightness for our wrongness.
His purity for our filth.
Christ’s righteousness for our sin.
Have any more questions?
Confronted by God Himself, Job embraced His sovereignty.
I do, too. I don’t want to argue anymore.