Monday, October 27, 2008

sovereignty & sorrow

I struggle from time to time with the following conflict:

I believe that God is sovereign and that His ways are best and perfect and ultimately for His glory and my good.  Yet when something happens that I believe is not good or best for a particular situation or even seems to give way for more evil actions - yet God ordains or permits it, I struggle with my emotional response.

For example, if I trust God totally, is there really room to be discouraged, disappointed, or grieved over His plan or decision regarding something that has a personal effect on my life or the life of my friends and/or family?

In reading 2 Kings 8 today, the Lord gave me a small little nugget of truth in the response of his servant, Elisaha.  Here's a little background:  Elisha is at Damascus and Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria was sick so he sends Hazael to meet him and to find out if Elisha knew from the Lord if he would recover from his sickness.  Elisha is then greeted by Hazael who has 40 camel loads worth of gifts (not bad!) and a question: "Your son Ben-Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, 'Shall I recover from this sickness?' " v.9  Elisha informs Hazael that the king will recover, but that the Lord has shown him that he will certainly die.  This is not exactly good news to take back to the king - especially when it begins sounding hopeful (you will recover) but then ends horribly (but you will die).

Then in verse 11 and 12, we read this:
And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed.  And the man of God wept.  And Hazael said, 'Why does my lord weep?' He answered, 'Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel.  You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.'

Once again, not a very uplifting prophetic word.

Elisha doesn't just skip off into the desert with his 40 camel loads worth of gifts, thankful for the plans of God.  The Scripture says that "the man of God wept."

I was so thankful to read these five words.

In the midst of falling in love with our two foster children, the question of when and if (in that order) they  return to their birth mother looms over me.  My theology is what I cling to; it's what keeps me on solid ground when our family is immersed in such uncertainty.  Unlike Elisha, God has not given me a prophetic word about the future of these children.  I know the birth mother and she is not Hazael.  I don't believe she is setting out to harm her kids in any way, shape, or form.  But the future doesn't look so hot for these little ones based on the little bit of information I do know.

As I walk through so many unknowns, I am just relieved to know that grieving and trusting God do not have to be at odds.  In my grieving, I can turn to Him with trust and adoration.  The two can work together in a beautiful way that reflects the heart of our Savior.

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