I have a bedrock conviction. Actually two: First that God is sovereign. Second, that God is good....all the time! No matter what.
Last Saturday, a young man from a church I love in Knoxville, TN was heading down a zip line at 45 miles per hour. Someone had not moved the ladder used to get up to the zip line and Zach hit it smashing his helmet, and his skull and is clinging to life in a Tennessee hospital. My son's girlfriend held him in her hands as they waited for the paramedics to arrive. I don't understand why this would happen to a wonderful young man full of faith and energy.
Today I received an email that a dear friend of mine, much younger than me has prostate cancer. He is a wonderful father, husband and pastor. I don't understand why.
In the last several weeks I have heard that two other friends of mine have severe cancer. I don't understand.
I could go on. Last December and January God preserved my life against all odds after 42 days in the hospital, 35 of them in ICU. Five times at least I should have gone home to Jesus. I don't understand.
At 52, I have watched and experienced much that I don't understand. Life does not let one see around the next bend. Life is not fair, nor often explainable. At least I cannot explain it.
And so, I return daily to two convictions. That God is sovereign and he sees the horizon in ways we never will till we are with him. His sovereignty gives me confidence in the circumstances I face - even in the midst of tragedy.
But His sovereignty by itself is not enough because a sovereign God could be capricious as life often seems to be. That is where the second conviction comes in, breathed through the pages of Scripture. That God is good....all the time.
Sovereignty without goodness is no comfort.
Sovereignty coupled with His goodness is ultimate security. In His goodness and in His sovereignty I can rest my circumstances and those of others even though I don't and won't understand. Understanding something about Him relieves me of the need to understand all of what happens in life. In His goodness and in His sovereignty I can rest - whether in joy or in sorrow.
I don't understand the road we often travel. I do understand enough about the God who made that road enough to trust the road. Whatever is around the next bend.
Zach and Tony and Roger and Carol and Paula, I pray for you tonight. My heart hurts for your struggle. My heart rests in the goodness and sovereignty of God. And that is where my life rests as well.