Thursday, February 16, 2012


In my mind, each individuals own Walk of Faith hinges on the issue of God's sovereignty.

This attribute of God can be both the greatest bone of contention or the strongest source of security.

God being sovereign is often the point of attack for unbelief. It's where His character is maligned by those who either refuse to believe in his existence, or those who choose to believe He is unworthy of their love.

You have surely heard, or even asked, the questions for yourself. If God is (sovereign) then why... is there pain, poverty, abuse, injustice, sickness, disease, death...? The list is longer, but these are a few of the favorites.

On another hand, when someone "of faith" finds themselves facing pain, poverty, abuse, injustice, sickness, disease, death... many find comfort in God's sovereignty. I believe this is because then they can hope or even believe there is purpose in their suffering.

I don't think anyone (particularly anyone "of faith") questions God's sovereignty in the good times, though those who choose not to believe will intentionally deny any credit of the "good thing" (blessing) to something such as the hand of God.

It's hard sometimes in the hurt, in the midst of pain, poverty, abuse, injustice, sickness, disease, death... to focus on God's sovereignty, it is sometimes best seen in hindsight, and sometimes it's not. Sometimes even when it cannot be seen, it has to be claimed. Otherwise, how do we live with the circumstance?

I've been reading lately about seeking God. One of the books I am reading has made reference to two different ways to seek God. Some seek His hand. When we seek His hand, His sovereignty is far more likely to come of issue. Because if the hand is not holding what we would hope for, or worse, if our circumstance somehow seems to indicate His hand might even be against us, then thought of His sovereignty is far more likely to breed discouragement, or worse- despair.

The better way is therefore, not to seek His hand, but rather, to seek His face. For when we seek His face, what His hand may hold is far less relevant. When we seek His face, what God does or does not do pales in comparison to who He is. And the false accusation against us, or the sickness we are facing, or the death of our loved one is no longer about us. Instead is just part of what is.

I think of the story in the New Testament when word was sent to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. He waited two days. Jesus waited. He tarried. And by the time He arrived Lazarus had died. I can imagine how Mary and Martha must have felt. Disappointed? Abandoned? Betrayed? Unloved? When they sent for Jesus, they had confidence that He could come, and by His hand have made Lazarus well. But He did not come.

Others have felt these same feelings. When John the Baptist awaited his beheading in prison, surely these were emotions he battled with.

Joseph, surely he felt these things as well... in the pit... in prison...

When Sarah was childless and ridiculed by Hagar, were these her feelings?

They had sought the hand of God, but His hand was empty. Perhaps His hand was even against them.

When Jesus finally arrived to Lazarus' tomb. Martha ran to Him, "“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." Mary also said the same thing to Him, in essence, "Your hand was empty, Lord."

If you read the story (John 11) you know that Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave. Mary and Martha sought their brother's healing from Jesus' hand, but when they looked into His face they discovered not the power of healing, but the Healer Himself.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

John 11:25-26a

I want to seek God's face, not His hand. I want the confidence not in what He does, or does not, do, but in WHO He is. He is Sovereign.

It brings me comfort, and it brings me angst.

In His silence, He is sovereign.

Though He tarries, He is sovereign.

When I hurt, He is sovereign.

In the midst of pain, poverty, abuse, injustice, sickness, disease, death...

He is Sovereign.

And I will see this, if I look into His face.

Do you believe this?”
John 11:26b

I believe.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Psalm 27:7-10

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