Sunday, November 30, 2014


(Excerpt from Leona's book HOSPITAL GOWNS DON'T HAVE POCKETS!)

If I had a daisy, I'd tear the petals off one by one to determine whether I deserve this catastrophe or adversity that has come into my life: “I deserve it?..I don't deserve it!..deserve it?..I don't deserve it!...”

If I brought on my illness by my own actions, I don't want to ask for God's justice. I would be getting what I deserve. I ask for God's mercy. Spiritually, I already received God's mercy and forgiveness for my sins through repentance and trusting Christ. If I ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” am I inferring that I'm too good, too righteous, too obedient to the Lord to have anything bad happen to me? Humility in the sense of modest submissiveness, gentle, patient yieldedness to God's dealings is more appropriate for me as His trusting child. This is not spineless submission, but confident belief in my sovereign God and a commitment to conform to His best blueprint for my life.

Life is seldom fair. In fact, to use a crude term, sometimes life stinks! I have a lot to think through and work out: Is God really in charge? If He is, why does He seem so inconsistent when He allows one person to suffer and not another, when He heals this one and not that one? Why does He allow natural disasters to affect some and not others?

I believe the Scriptures teach that Satan has power, though limited, to mess up God's perfect order at this or any stage of history. Satan tries to thwart God's plans, but God is in ultimate control even over Satan's continual infernal attempts at disorder. I believe that God generously gave mankind freedom of will to choose God's way or reject it to follow our own. Nevertheless, God knows what will happen. Sometimes He supernaturally intervenes on behalf of His people. Sometimes He doesn't.

Sometimes He allows us to be targets of evil people, bad genes, dangerous viruses, or natural disasters without intervening. In the book of Hebrews chapter eleven there is a list of some who escaped tragedies and experienced miracles. But a dreadful list follows of equally godly people who endured incredible sufferings. They were tortured, imprisoned, mocked, beaten, stoned, sawn in half, stabbed, ill-treated, and stripped of everything for Jesus' sake. Such conditions continue across the world today.

God doesn't act on a whim or sometimes look the other way with indifference. He doesn't draw straws to see who should escape and who should suffer, who should get cancer at 35 and who should live a robust life beyond the age of 95. He doesn't do daisy petal plucking to determine His actions.

Man's mistakes or deliberate acts of evil can affect other people and conditions on this planet, which in turn affect me. But of this I am sure—God is good! His dealings with me are for good and not evil. “'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope'” (Jeremiah 19:11). Whatever good or evil comes into the life of one committed to follow God, even as part of the human condition, is not accidental. I have finite understanding. If I never discover the reason for my illness or adversity, I'll understand it when I put aside my “earth suit” (my mortal body) and arrive in God's presence.

I believe that God is involved in the minutia of human activity, incredible as that seems, because Jesus, the Son of God, said so. He stated that the very hairs of our head are numbered and He even knows when a sparrow falls. Therefore, I believe that my present circumstances aren't random happenings. If I could understand perfectly, I would be God—and I am not.

The whole scenario may seem inconsistent and out-of-control to my way of thinking, but it is perfectly consistent from God's infinite perspective. The point is not that God will be sovereign some day, meanwhile evil forces and human actions are messing up His plans. Our God reigns now! (Psalm 93:1) Everywhere! Always! Since I've voluntarily given Him my life, He reigns and He is sovereign in my present trouble.

This mortal life is not all there is! If it were, I'd feel short-changed and cheated. Life is so brief. We barely get started and gain a little experience when we hear the final bell ring. Nor is human history all there is. I should look at my miniature infirmity or adversity, although it seems enormous to me, against the backdrop of eternity. Not easy, but that's the only way I can gain proper perspective and find the stability I need to endure even the worst that life may inflict. Our God stands above all human history and is weaving it into a beautiful tapestry that will ultimately glorify Him.

I believe, Lord! Help my lingering unbelief and feeble trust and increase my faith. I don't get anywhere when I destroy daisy petals to find out whether I deserve my situation. It is enough to believe that You know, care, and have good plans for me.

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