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God Is in Charge. VBS Day 3

July 6, 2022

Great is our Lord and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. Psalm 147:5

It’s hard to believe, but our week of VBS in Martin is somehow past the halfway point. Just a few days ago we were still in preparation mode, experienced but nevertheless uncertain as to how things would unfold. The week continues to go incredibly well. Monumentally well. We even dusted off another classic tune from 2018 (seriously, that year’s soundtrack is the VBS equivalent of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Dark Side of the Moon; it’s that good). I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that all is well. After all, God is in charge.

That was the theme today as we followed Joseph through thirteen pretty horrible years until he was given new responsibilities by Pharaoh and elevated to power. In the rearview mirror, the seemingly broken pieces of his life came together in a mosaic of grace. I’m quite sure it didn’t feel that way as a lived experience, however. God’s work is often most visible after the fact.

After all, it doesn’t seem like God is in charge. Or, if God is in charge, God doesn’t seem particularly competent. Look around. Open a window! Sin and brokenness are everywhere. If God is in charge, why aren’t things better?

So has the question always been. Divine providence is a tricky concept. What does it mean that the Lord is sovereign? Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that God is a puppeteer, that everything is unfolding to the drumbeat of an unavoidable plan. As our curriculum puts it, God is not a bully.

No, God’s sovereignty does not mean that everything that happens is according to God’s plan. It does mean that God’s plans will not be thwarted. Everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.

The brokenness in the world is our fault, not God’s. It’s becoming more and more clear to me that sin is going out of style. No, I don’t mean people are sinning less. I mean we want to talk about it less. Own up to it less. Confess less. Sin is something out there. It’s systemic, we say. Or it’s what those people do. Fair enough. There is sin in our systems and those people, whoever they are, are sinners. But so are we. So am I. I am the one who tries to impede the Lord’s sovereignty. I am the one who wishes to be sovereign. So has it ever been, all the way back to the Garden. We make a mockery of the God of love by pretending that a loving God doesn’t care about our sin.

Twice this week we have celebrated Holy Communion. Each time, the sacrament was preceded by a robust order of confession and forgiveness. The traditional Slovak rite doesn’t shy away from confronting people with the reality of our sin, or the fact that we deserve punishment. Do I believe this, I was asked? Twice I said, I do. When the absolution came, I could feel forgiveness wash over me with the merciful weight of a flood. I felt free. My sin seeks to stand in the way of God’s work. God’s forgiveness reunites me to God’s plan for my life, drowning my ego-driven desire for “freedom,” which is never more than me wanting to do whatever I want, and replacing it with the freedom of being united to Christ.

Thank God for this One, this Jesus Christ, who was willing to die and be raised to forgive my sins and restore my to life in God’s love.

Tomorrow, I am quite sure, people will continue to be crappy and selfish. But they (we; I) will not derail this God who is working all things together for good.

I don’t know how much of that sunk in for the kids today, but I know this: They sure as anything know that God will lead them safe to shore. With that as our God’s promise to us, what can we not face?

This is the sovereignty of God: the God who could have chosen to do anything at all, chose to become one of us, to die for us. What could ever stand in the way of this God’s powerful love? Someday, we will see the full glory of the mosaic of grace. Today, even standing among life’s shards, we believe it.

From → Slovakia 2022

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