Stumbling Blocks and God’s Sovereignty

So it was not you who sent me here, but God. Genesis 45:8

Really? Joseph believes that God sent him to Egypt? I thought it was the sins of his brothers that sent him there and God just made good out of it. Such is the stumbling block of God’s sovereignty.

One of the most disturbing messages I heard when I was wrestling with the sovereignty of God was from John Piper.  He said, “Who crucified Jesus? God did!” Admittedly, it took a good year for me to make peace with a God who gives free will, knows ahead of time the choices of sinful humanity, and weaves a glorious plan of pain and redemption into the life of every child.

But here’s the thing. If I’ve never trusted God with my story and pressed in close over time to see redemption, the truth of His sovereignty will be a stumbling block to me. This sad reality characterizes most of the church. We are deeply angry with God for what He did not prevent.

But because His suffering had meaning, ours can too, when we realize that we can go through horrendous experiences with the same purpose He had, trusting, and then magnifying the worth of the Father.  Christianity is a wildfire when spread by the hot winds of adversity.  I will miss it if I’m eaten away with the anger of injustice.

Today, someone watches a loved one wither away with cancer.  The loss will either cripple them or cause them to more fully embrace the joy that life is eternal.  Today, a parent’s heart breaks over the path of a rebellious child.  They will be tempted to disown their own son or daughter, or they will choose to explore the truth of their own past rebellion against God.  They will trace, once again, his never-ending supply of loving-kindness and mercy.

With each cross comes a choice.  Meaningless suffering or the opportunity to find the heart and purposes of God in our tears.  Joseph discovered the latter. Oh, the sweetness when it’s framed in the comfort of God’s sovereignty and the power of His redemption.

There is not one thing I have experienced, or ever will experience, that can be called a meaningless tragedy.  Be lifted high over my life and as I look up, let others follow my lead and see Your glory.  Amen

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