Disappointment and the Sovereignty of God

Good morning. Today is Thursday, April 18, 2013. And two days after the tragic bombings in Boston, a fertilizer plant exploded in the small town of West, Texas. Which is in south Texas. *scratches head* Anyway, they still aren’t sure how many people have been killed by the explosion and are estimating anywhere from five to fifteen. Last I heard, almost 200 are in the hospital with injuries, and several buildings are/were on fire. We’ve had overnight rain and storms, so rescue efforts are being impeded by the weather. Our prayers are definitely going up for everyone affected by this disaster.

I guess this “less salt” diet is working. Last night my BP checked at 126/78. It was back up to 142/72 this morning, but it seems to be higher in the morning, for some reason. That’s the opposite of what I would have thought, but what do I know? I guess I’ll be looking for some kind of salt substitute at the store this weekend. Bleah.

We got to the gym last night again, where I did my usual elliptical workout for 45 minutes and allegedly burned 560 calories.

Today is “International Juggler’s Day.” I like that, because, in just over a week, we will be going to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, where we will see Cale the Juggler perform! Huzzah!! Check him out here! (Unless you don’t have a Facebook account, in which case, you probably won’t see anything except a Facebook signup page.)

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
It was on this date in 1521, in the “Diet of Worms,” that Martin Luther stood before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (only 21 years old at the time), and uttered those famous words, “Hier stehe ich. Ich Kann nicht anders.”

Here I stand. I can do no other.

Luther was condemned for defying the “true church” and preaching “heresy.” He would not back down as the “true church” had become so corrupt as to hardly be recognizable. The Emperor had promised him safe conduct, so did not have him seized. Luther spent the rest of his 25 years preaching that “heresy.” It should be duly noted that Martin Luther had no desire to start a new “church.” He simply wanted to reform the one that was already in existence.

I found this video clip from a 2003 movie, with Joseph Fiennes playing Luther. I think this was done very well.

Today’s birthday is Leopold Stokowski, born on this date in 1882. Stokowski was a famous orchestra conductor. He was also the subject of this cartoon.

Honorable mentions to Lucrezia Borgia, 1480, Duffy Lewis, 1888, Joy Gresham Lewis, 1915, James Woods, 1947, Jeff Dunham, 1962.

Today’s Devotional

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Psalm 95:6-7
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:1-3

Father, I pray that you show me a vision of you during this devotional time, that I might have inspiration to live this day looking to you in all circumstances that come my way.

In Touch magazine: “When We Feel Disappointed”

. . . so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

We are quick to quote Romans 8:28 to others when they experience disappointments. A lot of people know this verse by heart (even though the majority tend to leave off the second half): And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. One reason I like the ESV (quoted here) so much is that the verse is rearranged so you can’t omit the part about “for those who love God,” which is a condition to the promise. Anyway, like I said, we are quick to quote that verse to others when they have disappointments, or even failures, in their lives. But are we as good at applying this concept to our own lives? “Do we have faith that God is engineering our circumstances–no matter how uncomfortable they may be–for our ultimate benefit?” I believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that he will return to earth. I believe that my salvation is by grace alone. But what happens when some big disappointment comes along in my life? Do I start crying out, “O God! Where are you? Why is this happening to ME??” These disappointments don’t mean God doesn’t love me! They don’t mean that he has stopped paying attention to me, either, or that he has, even for the briefest of times, abandoned me. I must remind myself of the truth of Romans 8:28, and then focus on the verse at the top of this passage, and KNOW that, even in disappointment, God is with me. Remember . . . God is not surprised or disappointed at anything, because he is omniscient (all-knowing). There is nothing that I can do that will surprise him. And it has recently been brought to my attention that, since he doesn’t have any false expectations of me, I can’t disappoint him, either. Now there’s something to chew on!

Father, as I prepare myself to face this day, I recognize that there have been disappointments in my life, some of them bitter. But you have always been there, directing the course of my life, and fulfilling the truth of Romans 8:28. I confess that there have been times when I mistakenly thought that you had abandoned me/us. Emphasis on the word “mistakenly.” I know that you are there, always. I also know that you are engineering my circumstances for my ultimate benefit. But perhaps the most shocking revelation of all is that you aren’t even disappointed in me. My feeble brain cannot fathom this. It makes logical sense, considering your sovereignty, and all. But I never really contemplated it, logically. I just always assumed that, when I sin, you are disappointed. But to be disappointed implies surprise, doesn’t it? And there is nothing that I can do that can surprise you. I have to meditate on this some more.

I am also glad to be reminded of the passage in Ephesians 3, which I have added to my daily prayer regimen that I pray for the friends that you put in front of me each day. I pray that all of my brothers and sisters in Christ will be rooted and grounded in your perfect love, that love which casts out fear, and that we may all be able to comprehend (hah!) the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Jesus Christ, and to know his love, that love which surpasses knowledge. But how can I “know” something that “surpasses knowledge??” May you fill us with your fullness, Lord!

I pray your blessings on this day ahead. Keep Christi safe as she drives to work in the rain. I pray that our work day will be anxiety free, as you give us the strength and wisdom to meet any challenges head-on, by the power of your Spirit. The more I go on with you, the more I know that nothing comes my way without your permission. Let me be aware of that when I’m in the midst of circumstances that would distract me from the ultimate goal of knowing you. I pray for opportunities that may be coming.

I lift up a prayer for the people in West, Texas, who have been tragically affected by the explosion. I pray for rescue efforts to be successful, and the people will have hope and comfort from you through this. May your Church rise up and be the relief and comfort that we should be.

Your grace is sufficient.

God is sovereign. We cannot surprise him, therefore, we cannot disappoint him, either. Ponder that for a while today.

Grace and peace, friends.