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How to Soothe the Strain of Swallowing God's Sovereignty When Mixed with Our Suffering

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Admit it: your life hasn’t worked out according to your plan. Last month didn’t work out according to your plan. Today won’t work out according to your plan. All of this is true because you aren’t the author of your story. 

You don’t need to read a mystery novel; your life is a mystery to you. 

You and I don’t have a clue what is around the next corner, let alone where we will be and what we will be doing a decade from now. 

But even though there is very little that we know for sure about our lives and we experience constant surprises along the way, we need not give way to panic or despair. 

Yes, our lives are out of our control, but that doesn’t mean they are out of control. 

No, our lives are under the careful administration of the One who had the wisdom and power to be the great Author of it all. 

Since God is the Author of every detail of your story, since he writes into your story every situation, location, and relationship, then he knows exactly what you’re facing and precisely what Grace you need to face it in the way he has planned. 

You could say it this way: His sovereign control is the guarantee that you will have everything that he has promised you. 

His sovereign control means He knows what you need because He has planned for you everything that you’re now facing. 

But more needs to be said....

His sovereignty is your surety because he can guarantee the delivery of his promises only in the location where he rules. Because He rules over all things at all times, he can guarantee that you and I will have what He has promised us in the places and at the times they are needed.  -Excerpt from Paul David Tripp’s Devotional, “New Morning Mercies”

Now...thoughts from ”Coach Tami”-

But how do we answer our crying hearts when horrible, unjust, grievous trouble, abandonment, abuse, tragedy, defeat, and other atrocious events, situations and circumstances hit our lives? 

What about this Sovereign over all and intricately detailed, personally present Almighty God that would appease our broken, traumatized hearts, souls and minds?

What about His amazing sovereignty that would be still so amazing when our lives are “authored” to undergo such tortuous hours, days, weeks, months, years and even decades? 

His Almighty, Sovereign Authorship just does not make a lick of sense to us when we are told in Scripture that He is also perfect in love and wisdom. 

How can authoring tortuous, unfathomable pain and circumstances be indicative of perfect love and wisdom?! 

This is indeed a painfully difficult question each human on this earth has at one time or another asked themselves. Because God designed us as reasoning beings. He designed us with wonder, curiosity and the desire to figure things out. However, He also designed our minds to be finite, not infinite like His. He alone is the infinite, all-knowing, never wrong, always perfectly right and righteous God.

I am the LORD; there is no other God. I have prepared you, even though you do not know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things." Isaiah 45:5-7 (NLT)

The very truth that God designed us to be finite in our understanding should help soothe the strain of swallowing such human reasoning which cannot substantiate the grand paradox of two seemingly incompatible realities:

God's Perfect, Loving Sovereignty and our wretchedly painful sufferings.

How can it be? "It just can't," we say. "It just makes no logical sense." And you know as well as I that we've all had the inner turmoil with such conversations, or might I say brutal arguments.

It is not that God condemns such honesty; He actually welcomes our "arguments," our questions, our energies in figuring things out.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

He welcomes, actually He invites us, bids us come to Him.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.Mt 11:28-30 (NLT)

So what of this "rest," "perfect-fitted yoke" and "light burden" promises to soothe the strain of our swallowing the mix of God's Sovereignty and our Suffering?

The answer is in His tender words, "Come."

He is inviting you and I to "let go..."

...of our own stubborn will that has the audacity to think if we put enough energies into our own reasoning that we could possibly figure things out...

...of our desire to control and put in place what we think sense and order should look, feel, taste, sound, and smell like...

...of our perceived ability, though pitifully false, to think we can possibly see the big picture, the whole "kit and caboodle," from eternity past to eternity future.

Get where this is leading? Well, just in case, let's turn to Truth for guidance:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.
Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality. Proverbs 3:5-8 (NLT)

Ladies, can you see in this passage above that our Heavenly Father already knew we would be naturally bent to figure our lives out with our own finite reasoning?

Can you hear the tenderness of His invitation above to release our exhausting grip on trying to be in full control and have full understanding?

Can you hear the kindness in His Word above explaining He never designed us to have such control and complete understanding so that by our release of such self-centeredness we would instead be drawn away from ourselves and unto the only One who can give us Divine clarity, renewed health and vitality?

His Grace-centered peace and promise that He knows all, holds all and can be trusted in and through all, regardless of the nonsense and excruciating pain and trauma life throws at us is what He offers to soothe the strain of swallowing the sour mix of His Sovereignty and our Suffering.

It comes down to our finite and narrow definitions we place on a universe we don't even know completely. It comes down to submitting to the Truth, our Reality that we are not as big and central and powerful as we often entertain ourselves to be, even when the personally excruciating, confusing peril hits us and we are floored.

Floored. Consider His invitation to "Come" in that moment...

Consider that moment of fear, abandonment, abuse, pain, suffering, injustice to be given the opportunity to be as God promises in His perfect Word-- to be far more than our minds can make logical sense of in the here and now...because we are far more than the here and now...

There is more than meets the eye. And God invites us to crawl out of the box we place ourselves in, often unknowingly, and submissively entrust your present life, situation, trauma, grief, abuse, injustice, and abandonment to a God that has the Big Picture in full view and eternity past and future in His all-knowing, faithful, trustworthy hands.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us... 
...For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:18-26 (NIV)
"So do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Personal Coaching Journey Questions to Consider:

  1. How would you describe your present energy-level in trying to figure things out on your own?

  2. What would it take for you to personally crawl out of the box you've placed yourself and admit your own understanding is finite and lacking?

  3. What may be the benefits of doing such as described in #2?

  4. What is at stake if nothing changes and you stay in that box of your own understanding?

  5. What is it that you long for in trying to understand your pain, grief, disappointments, injustices, and seemingly unending problems/turmoil?

  6. How does the Truth of God's Word speak into your answer to #5?

  7. What next step in your journey with Him and His Truth may God inviting you?

  8. What would this step look like for you? What will it take? When will it begin? How will you know you took that step?

  9. What support do you need in moving forward in the Truth that God is God and you are not, yet He promises you every bit of His sufficient grace for every step in the story He authors of you and me, today, tomorrow and forever?

Live aligned to your God-given design, for greatest impact and personal fulfillment!

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