What if I were to make a really BOLD assertion! Try this:
Not just “allowed.”
Not just “tolerated” as if his arm was twisted by some force (Satan?) and he gave in.
I mean precisely what it says.
This is a frightening assertion. If you find it so, you are in good company! Why does it bother us so much?
Somehow it implies things that I don’t like, true. Yet to somehow assume that God wasn’t sovereign in my past, that he *could* have stopped “bad things” from happening and chose to “allow” them anyhow, doesn’t bring me comfort. I don’t see that in Scripture. I don’t see that in his character in the pages of my bible either. I see a clear declaration again and again: He is KING.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
I see that God ordains what His people endure–even suffering! We are told that HE wounds–and HE heals. We may not understand why or how, but he does. Satan has no rights or power apart from God and somehow that fact doesn’t diminish God’s utter, total holiness and goodness. It is sort of like the Trinity–I don’t get it, but it is true.
So, what are the implications of God being sovereign, even in my past?
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Here is my assertion…If we believe God was sovereign even in childhood abuse, molestation, abandonment…if we believe God was sovereign when a husband was unfaithful or a best friend betrayed…if we believe God was sovereign when the church lady wounded us so deeply…if we believe God was sovereign over anything that has happened to us, then we can REST. We can be at peace. We cease striving. We believe that–even if we don’t “get” it, even if we don’t understand how a GOOD God could have even allowed certain things, let alone ordained them–if we believe that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts, nor His thoughts ours…that His ways are so much higher than our own…if we believe that He will go to ANY lengths to win a human heart for eternity–even wound for a speck of time during this brief season we are on earth so that we might enjoy intimacy with him forever–we can REST knowing that whatever it is we faced that was so horrible had a greater good that we will one day see. It was ordained by the loving plan of a gracious, merciful God.
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
If I were to go back through my own past and look at events in light of this assertion, I know it would radically affect my tendency to turn to food to comfort and numb myself–or to “treat” myself. Sometimes I have gone to food just because I was angry with God and what I felt he “allowed” in my life. I feel that he shouldn’t have “allowed” these things. I have gotten an attitude and developed a rebellious spirit–and a whole host of coping mechanisms for numbing myself to the pain of it all.
For example, my parents were far from what *I* would call ideal. But God ordained that they would be my parents. Because of the way they parented me and my fleshly responses to their sinful choices made while I was growing up–their sin toward one another, toward me, toward life generally–I grew up hiding behind food. I sneaked candy bars and cookies since my parents literally shoved food into my mouth and beat me if I didn’t willingly chew it and swallow…and while I was gagging. (Do I really need to wonder why I can’t swallow steamed broccoli today? My gag reflex seems autonomic!)
I brought my perception of my parents and all the coping behaviors I adopted growing up into my adult life (including my gag reflex over vegetables in any form other than salsa!). Result: Obesity for much of my adult life!
If I could stop thinking of myself as a “childhood victim” for just a moment, and consider that God ordained which parents would parent me (I am not saying he condones sin…I know this is a brain sprainer), if I just go out on a limb and embrace that God was sovereign in my past, then I can KNOW because he is not only sovereign, but completely holy and good, that he intended for something good and beautiful to come of my upbringing by that particular set of parents. Even the horrible things I experienced at their hand.
If I can really believe this, then I can then REST knowing that beauty was intended from the ashes of my childhood traumas. For instance, I am sure that apart from the way I was raised in major dysfunction, I wouldn’t have been nearly so desperate for Christ when I gave my heart to Him at 15 years of age. The cross shows us that there is no suffering greater than the lengths to which God will go to win the human heart. In my case, it required childhood trauma.
Developing greater intimacy with him has required suffering in recent months. He wants my heart. He will stop at nothing to have it. All of it. Rather than just “allowing” these challenges, I am comforted that he has *ordained* them so that I will be his–totally.
Even now, if I put my childhood in the context of having been ordained by a loving, gracious, compassionate, sovereign God, I can stop striving, churning, and cease the rebellion. For me, in a nutshell, that means I will run to food less!
How about you? How would your eating/body issues be affected if the circumstances of your life that have led you to overeat were viewed in light of God’s sovereignty–if you chose to really believe that he ordained them?
Beautiful post. I’m going to share parts of this story with my kids at church camp this summer. Thank you.