A small brown sparrow lay near the edge of the sidewalk, much too still. I thought of how a sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from God’s will. As my feet continued down the sidewalk, my thoughts took two different paths as the complimentary roles of pragmatist and dreamer played thoughts through my head.
The pragmatist, my practical side, thought of an acquaintance once asking, “If God is so good, and knows about that little sparrow, then why let it die?” Thankfully, God is large enough for all of our questions. The answer is one I have muddled through at times, when confronted with the “whys” in life, especially when taking my own limited viewpoint into consideration. Why God did you let this tragedy occur? God, why didn’t you take care of this need the way I thought it should be taken care of? Why God have you not answered on my timeline? And, while we are on the subject God, why did you answer that other prayer in that manner? Like the curious child, I can catch a case of the incurable whys. My desire is for real answers – not a stuffy, “because I said so,” or interminable silence where my impatience causes me unfruitful exercise in jumping to incorrect conclusions. I want to understand and the question is worth consideration. I think it is in the searching itself that my mind and heart are forced to stretch; as if thought were a stiff muscle yielding to new directions and allowing me to consider my presupposed answers differently.
God allows tragedy and discord on earth, but does so with a complete picture in place, and a purpose that cannot be overridden by our life happenings. It is the sovereignty of God that I must first point to, and my assurance that his plan will not fail. Let me reiterate that as the ultimate authority, God is in complete control, with an understanding and perspective that is complete and whole; very different from my own. My choice in the matter is whether I will trust, if I will rest, in God’s sovereignty. Although I have already made the lifetime decision to trust in God as my Savior, there are many moments when a life turns a path in a direction I have not expected and I renew my decision to trust my Father to guide me along the correct path. It is with this restful trust I can hope, that I can keep faith, trust rooted in the solidity of love. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” This is not a trust made of tissue paper, easily torn and crumpled; but one of strength which breaks down walls, redesigns lives, and builds beautiful new creations.
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.