A Lifelong Struggle

April 3, 2012

Tonight I sat and read Demand #18 from John Piper’s book, “What Jesus Demands from the World”. Demand #18 is titled “Do Not Be Angry–Trust God’s Providence.” Here is the passage that stood out to me the most (not surprising, given the circumstances):

“When he [Jesus] was predicting what would befall his disciples in the future Jesus said, ‘You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish’ (Luke 21:16-18). Here again we are assured in a shocking way that even if we are killed for Christ (‘some of you they will put to death’), nevertheless we will be totally safe–‘not a hair of your head will perish.’ God’s providence will govern all the evil that comes against us so that his good purposes are fulfilled. This will have an effect on the way we experience anger. Evil is being done, but it does not have the last say, and in the end even serves God’s hidden designs. There may be anger, but the bitterness and sting and hostility of it will be removed by this confidence.” (pg 144)

As I contemplated Piper’s words and Jesus words in Luke, it struck me that it goes against every single natural inclination in my heart to submit (not joyfully, but AT ALL) to the authority and providence of God over my life (and Mary’s). I was vaugely aware of it before we lost Mary, but now it is evident every moment of every day that there is a battle waging inside of me; on the one side, submission to a good, holy, sovereign God that loves me, and gave his son for me; on the other side, fear, doubt, anger at God, and a longing for what I wanted and dreamed of for my little girl and our family. And honestly, there’s a battle to submit to him right now in every other area of my life…it’s as if since he didn’t give me this one thing, I have the right to fight him in every other area, too. There have been times when I haven’t even wanted to think about God’s sovereignty over our situation because if I believe he’s sovereign, that means Mary is dead because he didn’t act. He could have healed her. He could have given us a healthy baby in the first place, actually. He didn’t.

One of the hardest and sweetest things right now (I know, those are usually opposites–hard things and sweet things, but they usually coincide nowadays), is seeing healthy, beautiful newborn babies. They remind me of redemption and hope, and what an awesome, creative God we serve. But all at the same time, they remind me of what I lost. They remind me of the void…A precious friend of mine just had a baby and on her facebook page someone commented that God is so good. And AMEN. I agree with all that is in me….but through tears I realized how flippantly and easily I can agree when it’s a healthy baby we meet in the delivery room. It so much more difficult when your baby dies to say “God, you are so good.”  But…I’m saying it…sometimes through tears and clenched fists and grinding teeth. I’m saying it because I believe it. I’m saying it because his Word says it, and his Word is truth. He is good even when he doesn’t do things the way I think is best. He doesn’t all of a sudden become un-good or un-sovereign just because I really, really don’t like or understand something he’s done to me. He’s still God and I’m still not. And for some reason these verses in Romans 3 keep coming to mind, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar…” (vss 3-4). 

I moment by moment battle to submit my heart to his rule. Am I okay being the “liar” and God being the only Truth? Not really…But the even greater battle, for me anyway, is remembering that Christ will do for me what I cannot do for myself (“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; HE will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:23-24). I choose tonight to trust him to give me joy and rest in the truth of his sovereignty, even if I will never understand. Ya’ll can hold me to it.

A lot of people say that when they get to heaven they’ll ask God why he did things a certain way, or let certain things happen. Well, I’m banking on the hope that when I see him face to face alongside my Mary and all the saints, that I won’t care one bit about the “why’s” anymore, but that I will fall on my face with the angels around his throne and finally truly declare with ALL of my heart, soul, strength and mind “BLESSING AND GLORY AND WISDOM AND THANKSGIVING AND HONOR AND POWER AND MIGHT BE TO OUR GOD FOREVER AND EVER! AMEN.”  (Revelation 7:12)

He is right in all of his dealings with man. And I pray, that though it may take a lifetime of struggles and tears, that Christ’s glorious grace at work in me will make my heart bow in humble adoration of the One who gave his own Son up for my sake. Amen.

Amanda (The Stagg’s)


2 Responses to “A Lifelong Struggle”

  1. Melissa Fulcher said

    Wow. Thank you so much for that honesty and brokenness coupled with so much TRUTH. Praying for you all.

  2. Amanda W. said

    Amanda – thank you for your words – I have read a number of your entries and I have been blessed by your writing. You have a gift for capturing emotions on paper. My brother and sister-in-law just lost their son this week due to Trisomy 13. He was carried full-term and then here for only 20 minutes. His memorial service is tomorrow. The grief, and joy, and questions come in waves and everything is so intense and overwhelming. Kami Recla is my husband’s first cousin and shared your blog with us. Somehow, you seem to have written exactly what I needed to hear tonite. I felt compelled to say thank you and I wanted to share the link to my sister’s blog http://www.thereicheljourney.blogspot.com should you want to read her story or maybe even connect at some point. my little blog is much less special or dramatic – but also accessible should you be interested http://www.wranghamland.blogspot.com God bless. – Amanda

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