For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sovereignty and Suffering

God wanted my roof to leak.  

Sounds a bit strange to put it that way, but let's look at the situation.  

Scripture clearly says God is sovereign over life and death.  Scripture clearly says God is sovereign over the rains, snow, etc.  So...

We had scheduled a guy over a month ago to come clean the chimney, do some touch up repairs, etc. However, my uncle passed away, and the service was the same day this guy was scheduled to come. Since we had to make an out of town trip for the service, we had to cancel the chimney guy.  His next available time to come won't be until January 4.  So, no cleaning and fixing. 

Now, we just had record rains and flooding here in the Ozarks, and as a result, our roof started pouring in water, I'm pretty sure around the chimney, and then running through the ceilings, etc.  Which most likely would not have happened if the guy had come a couple weeks ago and resealed the thing and so on.  

God knew exactly when my uncle would die, prompting our out of town trip and chimney guy cancelling.  God also knew those flooding rains were on the way.  So, conclusion: God wanted my roof to leak. 

Now, I have to be so very careful here for a number of reasons.  First, our leaky roof is so minor compared to the hundreds of people who lost homes in storms and floods, about a dozen who lost their lives in this last round of flooding, and hundreds more who suffered so much worse.  To call this leaky roof "suffering" might be considered a stretch for some. 

Second, I know we have to be careful in discussing God's active will alongside the nature of the sinful world we live in which results in death and storms and so on.  There are other reasons to tread lightly here as well, but still the truth remains: God is sovereign, none of this surprised Him, He was certainly in charge of timing, etc.   So what do I take from this?

Well, I struggle a bit with anxiety.  I know it's sin.  I know, for me, it's often a lack of faith.  And I know that this whole episode caused me some anxiousness and sleeplessness, since I was already worried about other flooding issues (our creek, our septic system, run-off, all meeting in our basement, etc.).  So I know that God is dealing with me about this.  It made for some quality prayer time (if repeating "Jesus help me!" over and over can be considered quality prayers).   This alone may have been the purpose.

I also know that I may never know the exact purpose.  May have to do with someone God will bring into our lives as a result.  May have to do with simply encouraging my wife and kids to pray for their pathetic husband/father.  May have to do with any number of things.  May have, as my wife suggested, to do with a simple reminder to be thankful in all circumstances.  We may never know. 

But in the end, it's a simple reminder that God is sovereign.  And I need to trust in that sovereignty, knowing that His will is always best, His purposes always right and good, and I need to constantly turn to Him in faith, trusting in His grace.  One of my wife's favorite songs says something about God sometimes calming the storm, while other times calming His child.  This may just be a reminder that in either case, He is as work, and I need to look for His hand. 

God is good, all the time, even when He wants my roof to leak.  Trust Him.  Lean on Him.  Look for His hand at work.  And ultimately, know that whatever we might be facing, great or small, "we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)

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