July 6, 2022… it is beginning to feel real. I read it like everyone else from our congregation— a short and to the point email announcing Doug’s 3 month sabbatical that begins in LESS THAN A MONTH. “On August 1st Debbie and I will be heading to Cambridge, England. We will be staying at Tyndale House as I work on my PhD dissertation at the university.”
After reading the words in black and white, my heart skipped a beat. Maybe, now that it’s really public, it really will happen. I’ve not allowed myself to count on it, because “it” has felt precarious.
The idea of this sabbatical has been a lofty dream for more than a decade, back when we thought someday we’d be empty nesters. It was a dream that was born and prayed about, long before Ian’s car accident, and certainly before a pandemic.
Make a Way
Still, there has always been this massive chasm between the thought of this extended time away, and it actually being a reality. How could I possibly pull it off now with my heavy load as guardian? I boldly placed it before the Lord. My prayer has been, God, if you want this, You’ll need to make a way because there is no way.
If you are in the midst of uncertainty and cannot see a way… Isaiah 43:16-21.
The details are coming together, just as He promised. If you read my thoughts over the past months though, you would see my exasperation and multiple threats to throw in the towel. Solid possibility after solid possibility would fall through and my resolve would waver. Many times it has seemed just too hard, too risky and even too foolish. Still, the ember of possibility has continued to glow.
A Fire Now Blazes
And then, as if the Holy Spirit Himself breathed on the ember, a fire now blazes. The final critical piece has fallen into place, a roommate for Ian who will relocate to Albuquerque and live in our home. Clearly God’s doing because it’s simply too good to be true. A dear dear friend who loves Jesus and Ian is enthusiastic about this opportunity that, she claims, will be good for her too. In fact, it has felt almost “coincidentally perfect” as if the idea of this temporary arrangement came to both of us simultaneously.
As I’ve thought about how this has come to be, too complex to explain, I can’t help but marvel at God’s sovereign interest in every detail of my life. He loves me that much!
Sovereignty is churchy word, but one that brings such comfort! The way I understand it, there is absolutely nothing that happens in the cosmos that is outside of God’s influence and authority. In other words, God is in control.
Do you believe that? All the time? Even when He is silent. Even when His answer doesn’t seem to make sense? Ouch.
What about the Minutiae?
When God’s power is on display in flashy ways we know it. Remember the feeding of the 5000 or the 10 plagues of Egypt? When Ian’s lungs began to work after 9 days on EKMO, we recognized God’s power, so did his entire medical team.
More often though, God works behind the scenes, through ordinary people and things. Even though God’s power and involvement is less obvious, He is NEVER not sovereign, He NEVER shares His throne. How easy it is to take the credit and forget His sovereign hand in the minutiae of life. … “It’s your breath, in our lungs, so we pour out our praise…”
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The truth is…this biblical view of God and His sovereignty is under assault. In a world full of evil, suffering and even disasters it’s no wonder. When we don’t understand His ways, we prefer the idea of coincidence. Because when things happen by chance, we can explain them away with luck or karma. But that thinking is dangerous. Coincidence conveniently removes the necessity to acknowledge God and denies His dominion over our lives. And just like that we’ve claimed the drivers seat, self reliant masters of our own destiny with no accountability. It all seems innocent enough.
But as Proverbs 14 warns…
Proverbs 14:12,13 MSG There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough look again—it leads straight to hell.
Convicted and humbled by the Lord’s orchestration of details in my own life, He has impressed upon me an important lesson. We need to be OK with the Lord’s mystery. How arrogant are we to expect it’s even possible to figure Him out entirely. He is God. We are not.
Isaiah 55:8,9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. 9 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Romans 11:33,34 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! 34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?
What if in the face of mystery, we turn towards our sovereign God? We sit with Him in the dark and uncertain tunnel, trusting He is with us and will make His way known, in His time.
After all, the way I see it, there isn’t just a light at the end of the tunnel… There is light Himself who wants to be with us in the tunnel and carry us through it.
In my experience, that small step of obedience, of turning towards Him in the face of mystery, has been the game changer. It’s as if obedience is the grease that unleashes a life full of His Providence.
GodsGotThis. Debbie Hucke