Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Pleasure of God in ALL He Does

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
Psalm 135:6
The sovereignty of God is a precious reality for me and for many people in my church. How many times have we gotten word of some heart-wrenching calamity in one of our church families! We have gone to our knees before the Lord and cried out to him for their help and comfort. Time and again I have heard my people submit themselves to the sovereign will of God and seek his good purposes in it. Once a tornado ripped through our area, destroying homes and stores and uprooting huge trees. It was a Sunday afternoon. That evening we prayed. Even today, years later, I can recall a woman calling on God for mercy for the victims, and then lifting her voice to extol God for his power in the roaring wind, and asking him that we all be humbled and brought to repentance before such majestic authority.

The son of one of our former deacons was run over by a motor boat. He lived, but his knees were badly damaged, and there were superficial nicks on his chest and neck from the propeller. When his father testified in a deacon meeting, he said that his main comfort and lesson was the sovereignty of God. "God has his purposes for the life of my son," he said, "and my for my whole family. This will turn out for the good of all of us as we trust in him. God could have taken my son with another half-inch difference. But instead he said to the blade: 'This far and no farther.' [Job 38:8-11]"

God does not always stop the blade. On December 6, 1974, he did not save my mother's life. She was riding with my father on a touring bus heading toward Bethlehem in Israel. A van with lumber tied on the roof swerved out of its lane and hit the bus head on. The lumber came through the windows and killed my mother instantly. The death certificate said, "lacerated medulla oblongata." When we saw her body ten days later, after the funeral home did the best it could, my sister fainted. My father wept alone over the coffin for a long time...

What was my comfort in those days? There we many. She suffered little. I had her for twenty-eight years as the best mother imaginable. She had known my wife and one of my children. She was now in heaven with Jesus. Her life was rich with good deeds and its good effects would last long after she was gone. And underneath all these comforts, supporting all my unanswered questions, and calming my heart, there was the confidence that God is in control and God is good. I took no comfort from the prospect that God could not control the flight of a four-by-four. For me there was no consolation in haphazardness [chance, randomness]. Nor in giving Satan the upper hand. As I knelt by my bed and wept, having received the dreaded phone call from my brother-in-law, I never doubted that God was sovereign over this accident and that God was good. I do not need to explain everything. That he reigns and that he loves is enough for now.

So let us stand in awe and wonder of God--eternally happy in the fellowship of the Trinity; infinitely exuberant in the wisdom of his work; free and sovereign in his self-sufficiency. "Our God is in heaven; he does all that he pleases" [Psalm 115:3]. Let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and rejoice that his counsel will stand [Proverbs 19:21], and that one day all the families of the nations will worship before him; for dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations [Psalm 22:27-28].

--John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God, p. 74-75

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