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Faith in a sovereign God does not prevent us from sometimes feeling bewildered about what our sovereign God is doing.
On a small scale, we can grasp for reasons behind everyday frustrations like dead car batteries and sleepless nights — mere inconveniences, to be sure, but nevertheless enough to sometimes ruin what we thought were God-honoring plans for the day. Perhaps we can agree with J.I. Packer when he writes, “The harder you try to understand the divine purpose in the ordinary providential course of events, the more obsessed and oppressed you grow with the apparent aimlessness of everything” (Knowing God, 105).
Confusion - Expectations - Breath - Dream - Sense
Such confusion is troubling us enough in the everyday, but it can become altogether faith-shaking when, contrary to all our expectations, we witness the last breath of what seemed to be a God-given dream. How do we make sense of a church plant that fails to take root? Or of a child who, despite every spiritual privilege, walks away from her parents’ God? Or of a long-hoped-for relationship that finally comes, and then ends after the first few notes?
No matter which way we turn these stories, our most creative imaginings can invent no happy ending. Like Noah’s dove, our faith flies away from the ark in search of solid ground, but returns without an olive branch (Genesis 8:8–9).
Apostle - Paul - Bewildering - Experiences - True
The apostle Paul was not exempt from such bewildering experiences. True, he could write, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33), but he could also write, “We are . . . perplexed” (2 Corinthians 4:8). The peace of God does not shield us from providences of God that feel, for a moment at least, utterly perplexing.
Nevertheless, Paul can tell us in the next breath, “But [we are] not driven to despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8). Perplexed, but not...
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