I was able to spend some time with my dear friend, Ed Litton, these past couple of days. Ed’s wife, Tammy, passed away about 6 years ago in a tragic car accident. He has since re-married to another wonderful woman, Kathy, who interestingly enough had her husband pass away several years ago in a tragic car accident as well. The Lord is His providence and grace brought Ed and Kathy together after they both experienced such difficult losses.
Ed has become a recent friend and God has used him mightily in my life. When he speaks, I listen. He has a warmth and wisdom about him that blesses me so much. Last night, he and I were talking, and he told me something powerful, yet simple…something that I needed to write down and share.
After Tammy passed away, Ed had a young seminary student ask him if his view of God’s sovereignty had helped him or hurt him during his time of loss. Ed’s answer was simply, “Yes.”
I completely resonate with Ed’s answer…I get what he was saying. In one sense, yes, it’s incredibly difficult to reconcile God being sovereign, fully able to control all things, and yet He still allows such horrible things into our lives. When you experience something difficult…tragic…and you’re praying so fervently for things to be different and God chooses not to intervene temporally, sometimes it is hard to understand. So yes, understanding that God is sovereign does hurt a little bit at times.
But, in another sense, in a greater sense, it is incredibly overwhelming and beautifully comforting to know that while God does allows such difficult things into our lives, He has a plan and He is in complete control. God’s sovereignty brings purpose to a believer’s suffering. In fact, I can’t even imagine the thought of Trey’s suffering not serving a purpose. If Trey’s suffering was all that there was, I would feel horribly defeated and probably could not even go on living. However, knowing that Trey’s life served God’s purpose and has had incredible eternal significance, and knowing that I will see Him again because God HAS acted and HAS saved his soul…in that sense, God’s sovereignty has been more than helpful. It has been what has carried us and is carrying us to this day.
There is nothing in the world that can prepare you to watch your child breathe their last breath…NOTHING. Emily and I thought we were prepared, and in those final moments with Trey, we found ourselves broken and hurting in the deepest possible way. However, GOD WAS WITH US, and while we were not prepared, He carried us. He gave us the necessary grace to simply breathe. In our tears, He held us and more importantly held our son and carried Trey directly into His presence.
So…knowing that God loves Trey a million times more than I ever could, I have to rest in the fact that God then sovereignly accomplished His perfect plan for Trey…a plan that in some ways is hurtful to us, because we just don’t understand everything and we miss Trey so much, but also a plan that is incredibly helpful to us, because we know that God did what was best for Trey. He saved Trey and has now delivered Trey from ALL sin, sickness and death. TREY IS WHOLE! TREY IS FREE! And Trey now is with the Lord who is making ALL THINGS NEW!
So, yes, knowing that God is sovereign can be a little painful because we don’t always like what He does…BUT…and this is big…knowing that God is sovereign allows believers to face this sin-stained world with an eternal perspective that reminds us every day that God is doing something eternally with every aspect of our lives…that this world IS NOT all that there is…and that one day, we will have resurrected bodies, living on a resurrected earth, serving our resurrected Lord!!! And in all of that I shout HALLELUJAH!!!
God…thank you for sending Your Son! Thank You for coming and giving us a way of escape from sin and death! Thank You Jesus for dying on the Cross so that EVERYONE who calls on Your name might be saved. Oh God, keep using Trey’s life to point people to Your Son. Thank You for giving His life a purpose…thank You that his suffering was not meaningless…thank You for the 7 incredible years You gave me with him. Please hold him and give him love tonight from his daddy. Oh how I love you Trey and I will see you again soon and get ALL of eternity with you. I love you son…always and forever.