Monday, August 8, 2011

Sovereign God

[sov-rin, sov-er-in, suhv-] 
a monarch; a king, queen or other supreme ruler
a person who has sovereign power or authority

Today's message at church was given by Pastor Greg.  Once again, it was amazing.  I always come away feeling like part (if not all) of the message was written just for me to be hearing at that particular moment.  This was one of those messages.  We just finished a series on the rise and fall of David last week and the next series will begin next weekend.  This message was in the category of "wild card".  It was basically reflections on Pastor Greg's marriage - he and his wife just celebrated their 35th anniversary.  Here are some key points he made which stuck out for me:

"We are leaning to trust in God's sovereignty."

"All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful..." (Psalm 25:10, NIV)

"God is God.  He can do what He wants, how He wants, when He wants...There is no one He takes counsel with."

"Knowledge of God's sovereignty sustains us."

Trusting in God's sovereignty can give you confidence in the choices you make (i.e. in a marriage partner)

He can redeem our choices/mistakes.

"We can face adversity with a sense of peace."

"We can get excited about the future."

"Your suffering may be a breakthrough in someone else's life."

(These points were all written down by me on our weekly outline sheet for the service.)

This message really got me thinking about Peyton.  I came to terms with Peyton's health situation a long time ago, but for so long I was so depressed and angry.  I love her to bits - always have - and her situation did not make me love her less.  In fact, probably quite the opposite.  Still there are times when she's really sick and in the hospital and I look at her and the thoughts of why may sometimes creep in.  I got much better about this once I turned her whole situation - her LIFE - over to God.  He's in control - not me!!  "God is God.  He can do what he wants, how He wants, when He wants."

Peyton's development is extremely limited.  She turned 5 last May, but I can tell you there are infants I know who can do things she can't.  She can't talk.  She can't walk or crawl or stand or sit on her own.  But I can't focus on that.  I wasted a lot of time focusing on the things that are out of my control.  "God is God.  He can do what he wants, how He wants, when He wants."

So what does one do when you find yourself in the hospital again for the upteenth time in the past several months and you find yourself face to face with something like this:

Peyton - November 2010
~ 9th multi-day hospital admission of that year ~

This poor, precious child of mine was 4 and in the hospital with yet another respiratory infection.  She looks so sad, pathetic and sick here.  I don't think I would now publicly share this photo unless it was for a purpose.  In the midst of everything else going on, she had some massive skin irritation.  She has an in-dwelling port in the left chest.  It had infiltrated, meaning that whatever antibiotics were going through the IV line into the port (IV de-accessed and obviously not in place in her port in the picture) somehow leaked out and under the skin causing puffiness and irritation.  The massive square shaped irritation, though, is from regular old Tegaderm, which is a clear square adhesive patch that is put over the site to protect the area from outside bacteria.  Multiple specialists were called in for this alone - forget the reason she was there to begin with.  This situation caused her to have to get stuck several times for a regular old IV, which is bad news for her because she has horrible veins and they blow all the time.  It's absolute torture for her to have an IV, hence the reason for the port.

Maybe you've found yourself facing a crisis or similar situation where you just find yourself at wit's end, crying out to God, "WHY????" or "One thing isn't bad enough, but you have to let this happen too???"  Perhaps we're finding ourselves making decisions for a loved one that we're just not ready to have to make and we don't understand how things could get this bad.  Maybe we can't see it at the time or even figure it out for a long time after, but if we learn to trust that God is sovereign, "We can face adversity with a sense of peace."

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It's hard, I know.  I'm still learning all of this.  I'm far from perfect in this area of my life, but I'm learning, and I'm willing to keep learning.  I think today's message really made things clearer for me.  God is so big.   He's all-powerful.  He is a loving and merciful God who had a plan in mind for each of us before we were even conceived.  He doesn't make mistakes.  Peyton wasn't a mistake.  Peyton has as much of a purpose as anyone.  In fact, I think her little 5 year old self has taught me much more than I could ever dream of teaching her!

I think part of the lesson here is to just delight in what we have while we have it.  Learn from the opportunities we are given.  Grow in those experiences.  Be a light to others through your struggles.  Trust in God's great plan and know that nothing is beyond Him and that He will guide you through whatever you may be going through.

Me and Peyton - same November 2010 hospital stay
Amidst the difficulty, there is STILL joy!

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