Apr 28, 2007

No purpose of God's can be thwarted

I can't imagine Job's experience. It's recorded for us, of course, but I can't really imagine it. What we're experiencing with Ian doesn't come close to what he experienced, but it is a taste. Ongoing difficulties like this feel like being pinned under a waterfall that doesn't stop. The pressure and the churning are constant. On bad days you feel like you're trying to catch your breath from the sadness and difficulty of it all. The difficulty doesn't have to be as intense and multifaceted as Job's for the experience to be the same. We think we shouldn't feel we're caught up in or weakened by the churning of the waterfall, but it seems to be a common experience to those in ongoing difficulties.
The natural temptation is to "contend with the Almighty" as a faultfinder (Job 40:2), to wonder whether this God in whom we've placed our trust really is good or not or whether He's really in control or not. I've felt that temptation. I want to learn from Job, though, who had more reason than me to question God. I want to learn what he learned as a result of his terrible experience: "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job learned to humble himself and submit himself to the sovereign hand of God in both the bad and the good experiences.
Remembering that no purpose of God's can ever be thwarted doesn't make the waterfall stop, but it does help me keep our troubles in perspective. Things aren't out of control; God is very much in the waterfall. I don't know why He's allowed all this, but I know He's in control.
Remembering this also drives me back to the One who is in control of the waterfall. I know that He wants to give me the best: Himself. He wants me to experience His help. I'm so grateful for the kindness and help of our church and even of people I've never met (and may never meet). It really is a huge help to have people helping us; it gives me a taste of God's attentive care for us. But, I recognize that my Father in heaven is the only One who ultimately can help me, and I need to regularly ask Him to sustain me and lean on Him moment by moment.
Thank you for praying for us and for Ian.


Anonymous said...

I think about you guys and Ian everyday I continue to read the blog and pray that Ian would wake up. If you need anything when Ian gets home let us know.
Paula Miller

Anonymous said...

It is so helpful to have God give you the words to be able to tell us, in some small part, what all this feels like. I'm so grateful that you take the time to tell us, because there's waterfalls everywhere (very few like yours) and we need to know how to think about them. We need to know how to think about God and how to remember who He is and what He does.


He's given you a unique way to tell us about pain, and what God has to do with pain. He gives you illustrations and word pictures that make it much more real to us. Again, thank you for doing this. In the midst of ALL you have to do, thank you for telling us. I hope you can keep telling us.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Thanks for writing so honestly about how you feel. Thanks for sharing your walk with the Lord through this very hard time. By the way, I just got done reading a Philip Yancey book called "The Bible that Jesus Read" and in it he has a good chapter on Job.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve. This blog entry, as many before it, is encouraging and so insightful, and just what I need to hear (again, again, and again). Your example, and that of Larissa and Mary and the boys, is staggering...never underestimate it! I have had that very verse, "No plans of yours can be thwarted", printed out for some time now...I don't really "feel" that I understand it (i.e.why does it have to be a painful plan?). I know the right answer if someone were to ask me, but learning about it in the way that you and I are learning is, well, awful. So I thank you (which somehow doesn't totally convey the depth of my regard) for sharing your heart with us all, it blesses me for sure! GLA

Maureen Hartnett said...

I talked to a woman tonight who recently awoke from a coma (caused by organ shutdown). She is now up and around with her young son although she says she still receives therapy. During the coma she was aware of her surroundings, just as you say. She thanked us several times for praying for her and I came away greatly encouraged to pray the same for Ian.