Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Beauty for Ashes

Yesterday we went for a day at our friend's house. The last time we were at her house was the day of our car accident. On the way Abigail decided to think, and to ask questions, and make declarations.

Mommy, can we talk about my hand?

Why would that crash down on me when I was just trying to put the toys away?
I didn't know it was falling so I couldn't get out of the way.

It wasn't right. It had no right to fall on me. 

Did God make it fall on me? 
I already love Jesus and want to follow Him. 
He didn't have to let that fall on me.

We had to talk about the car accident.

What do you say to that? Did God cause those awful accidents to happen? If He allowed them, how is that different than causing them? But five years old isn't the time for discussions about sovereignty and free will, prefect will and permissive will, tension in the text, balancing human responsibility with all-powerful God.

No, let us talk of what we know.

So we talked of redemption and growing.
  • The ways that God takes a nervous, timid little girl who wanted to do everything perfectly the first time or not try at all, and turns her into a brave and confident little girl who will accept her best and keep trying. 
  • The ways that God uses ugly and bad things to help those who love and follow Him know Him better and grow stronger. 
  • We talked about how He sent Jesus to die on the cross which was an ugly, bad, awful thing so that we could be washed clean of our sins and be friends with Him. 
  • We talked about how just like God let, sent, Jesus (to) die so that we could know Him sometimes He will let, send, bad things (to) happen so that we will know Him or so that others can know Him through us. 

She went to play satisfied. I went away feeling as though I needed another quiet time to be ready for the drive home.

But I am left struck by the conversation. Perhaps I don't need to worry over how God will accomplish His will, or what kind of will I am living in, or how His sovereignty and my free will work together. Perhaps it is enough to cling to the cross--to the God who loves so deeply and whose daily work is one of redemption. Perhaps it isn't in the understanding so much as it is in the clinging.

To grant those who mourn in Zion, 
Giving them a garland instead of ashes, 
The oil of gladness instead of mourning, 
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. 
So they will be called oaks of righteousness, 
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3

1 comment:

  1. sarah, what a wonderful girl you are. you have taken one of the most beautiful of verses and explained it in such an incredibly clear way that God can't be anything but glorified something fierce !!! ! you're something else, girl. what a help this explanation is to anyone who takes the time to read it. i think you should publish it !!!!!!!!!!!!!! love, jan (aka mammy to one maurice andre)