CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
The Sovereignty of God Part 2
Luck, Miracles, and God's Purposes
By Christopher Schwinger
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Continued from Page One
Sometimes remarkable deliverance doesn't change people's hearts, but God doesn't plan every event on the basis of how efficiently it's producing spiritual growth. In 2003, a 27-year-old outdoor adventurer named Aron Ralston was stuck in a canyon in Utah, pinned in a narrow space by a boulder which had fallen, and he didn't think he would wake up again after several solid days of surviving like that. At that time, because his mother had contacted people, there were many prayers being made to God for him to be rescued. When he woke up that last day after fitful sleeping, he felt his will to live revitalized and came up with a way to dislodge himself by amputating his own arm. When he finally encountered other people, they shared their little bit of food and water with him, but he quickly realized it would be impossible for him to climb the remaining barriers with one arm, in such heat, with so little food and water. Right then, a rescue helicopter showed up. Was this God or what?! But Aron Ralston didn't become a "person of faith" in spite of this, even though he believed God answered others' prayers on that day. His personal life hasn't been optimal since then, either. Seth MacFarlane has destroyed morality with his cartoons, failing to see that God preserved his life when he was late to the airport on 9/11 because of a hangover. In the 2016 Christian movie Miracles from Heaven, a remarkable story a girl's health problems being cured by falling out of a tree, there's an unanswered question: Why does God do miracles when we least expect them, while so many people who really have taken to heart Jesus' promise "Ask and it shall be given to you" lose their faith when God doesn't answer their prayers? Or you could ask about the shipwreck in the Book of Acts, "Why did God let the storm at sea happen instead of just making it a smooth ride? Paul had been through enough suffering already and the pagans on the ship wouldn't become Christians anyway!"
Those who never hear the Gospel become tainted easily by their own sin nature as they grow older, and it doesn't matter whether they WOULD HAVE repented if they knew, unless they were of an unusually spiritually sensitive nature and asked God to show them the truth and He'd intervened. But even most of the stories of that happening through dreams Muslims have of Jesus don't have the conversion happen until after Jesus tells them they'll meet an evangelist, who then finishes the process. Perhaps God doesn't want us to be terrified of Him, but to love Him out of devotion instead of fear of consequences, and that may be why He seems to give most of the job to us to do His work. It becomes more of a burden than we want, unfortunately.
Psalm 139 is a great psalm because the psalmist actually finds comfort in knowing that God knows everything that will ever happen in his life, was actively involved in his creation in the womb of his mother, and can see in darkness and light equally well and read everyone's minds. Job 28 is a brilliant poem about wisdom which says there are gems buried underground which God has placed for mankind to find, and we can find things which no other animal can, and are the highest of God's creation (Psalm 8), but wisdom is something we can't just find through hard work like mining underground. This lesson applies to the deepest questions we have about life, too. We have to know some things instinctually, not always logically. We can't always "figure out" how to get to the answers. Sometimes we just have to accept that the good and bad both exist, and maybe God doesn't "ordain" everything, but is at least PRESENT and INVOLVED in everything. If you analogize the wisdom poem of Job 28 to the question of God's sovereignty, we can mine underground for answers, but true wisdom isn't found through just looking for answers on our own. We have to have virtue that is found in reverence for God, not just our own attempts. As Job 28:28 says: "And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.' " Virtue results in hope, as many psalms prove. If we pursue doing the right thing and going after our goals, based on a foundation of morality and a Biblical perspective, God will give us hope as we do so, even when horrible things challenge our faith.
Image Credit: pixel1; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father | Hardships | Witnessing-Evangelism
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