Posts tagged #Sovereignty of God

Last One Standing

The boxes were packed, most of the house was clean, and it was the last photo hanging on the wall. 

It has always been a favorite of mine. It was taken right before our wedding, right after our first look. 

I remember it like it was yesterday. 

I stood outside those big sanctuary doors, knowing that Ben was waiting inside made me so nervous that I had to run into the bathroom to collect myself. I looked at myself in the mirror, grabbed some paper towels and dabbed my forehead & armpits all super star style (keepin’ it real folks). After giving myself a pep talk, I gathered myself and walked back towards the sanctuary. The doors were opened for my entrance and when I saw him, my stomach dropped. His back was facing me as I walked down the aisle, hands shakily gripping a huge bouquet of flowers. I tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around and embraced me. I cried. This candid kiss was captured a few moments after he first laid eyes on me, his new bride. 

We LOVED so many of our wedding photos (shout out to our favs Braun Photography), but this one strikes a different chord. You see, we know what it feels like for us both to break different aspects of our vows, forgive each other, and still stay true to the promise of “til death do us part.”

Those young 25 year olds didn’t have a clue what was in store for their love story, but God knew. And I love that. It wasn’t easy and life wasn’t always fair, but regardless of the bumps and bruises we obtained along the way, we have learned to trust that He is good and all things are for our good and His glory.

This photo is such a good reminder of that.

It was always the first one I’d hang up whenever we moved into a new home. It was also the first one I took down during a hard season in our marriage. I couldn’t look at it; it felt like a cruel joke. So it went up in the attic for a few months. But eventually, by God's grace it found its way back to its rightful place on the wall. 

And a few years later, it was the last one standing. 

I love that.

I love that it wasn’t intentional. 

I love that when I walked into our bedroom to finish cleaning, that photo took my breath away. 

Last. One. Standing. 

Because when I walked down that aisle to Ben the first time, before all the pews were filled and the vows were said, my heart was already there. I was his bride. He was my groom. And together, we were promising to never leave nor forsake the other. Only death would determine who would be the last one standing

Years later, now that we fully understand what those vows mean our photo means so much more.

That photo is a picture of a covenant made between two sinners determined to keep their vows despite the sin that plagues this world and our hearts. It’s a picture of a promise that life is going to be hard, wounds will accrue, and hard seasons will come, but that young bride and groom are going to grow old doing their damnedest to forgive, hand out grace like it’s going out of style, and walk with each other through so many seasons of life. It’s a portrait of an imperfect love that is an earthly, broken picture of a PERFECT, eternal love that will never wound or fail. It is evidence that God loves to redeem broken stories for our good and His glory.

And so I snapped a picture of that photo on the wall and I wept, because God has sustained so much and at the end of it all, we know that He is the one who is truly the last one standing. 

I don’t know your story. I don’t know where God has moved big things for you and what all He has restored. I don’t know what areas of your life He’s said “No” in and left some prayers unanswered. I don’t know the hard parts of your story, but if you’re a believer, I do know your God. 

I know that...

...He is sustainer and provider.

..He is close to the brokenhearted and that His specialty is redeeming broken things.

...He is the perfect groom, and not in some creepy hyper-Christian romantic lingo, but in the most legitimate sense of the word. He has made a covenant with His people that can never be broken.

...His promises will never fail and His mercies are new every morning. 

...He is both the first and the last. He will forever be our Last. One. Standing. 

And when I saw that photo, the last one hanging on our wall, I was reminded of all that the Lord has done in our lives and I’m sharing because I know He can do it in yours too. Nothing is beyond His care or repair. May our story point you to that greater story, and our prayer is that through every season, you'll look to the Last One Standing to guide you through it all. 

Much love to you all,

My goals vs. His plan.

This week has been a good week, refining, but good. I don't know about you, but I'm a planner to a fault and get way too attached to my ideas. Typically the planning cycle goes like this: 1. Make a plan set goals and follow the path of the plan.

2. About 8-10 months into the plan God changes everything and my path is completely redirected and my plan is destroyed (usually this "destroying" of my plan is usually in the form of something better, but at this point I'm too dense to see it in that light).

3. Rather than trusting God on this new path, I usually go kicking and screaming, constantly asking God to reveal the next twist or turn.

4. Then when He doesn't give me a clear view of what's next, I tend to start planning again. Start back at #1 and the cycle continues...

Hopefully the majority of you are more spiritual or mature than me and are able to avoid this cycle, but for some reason I've had a hard time kicking this.

Lately I've been processing the tension between the wisdom of planning ahead and trusting in the Lord when things don’t go as planned. Let me preface with saying that I don't think there is anything wrong with evaluating your life, dreaming big, making plans, and then taking steps towards achieving your dreams. The tension I face is when those plans don't work out the way I planned them.  When MY goals, MY plans, MY dreams don't match up with what the Lord gives me, my lack of trust in the sovereignty of God is exposed along with a misunderstanding of who God really is.

Dr. John Murray, former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, states this about the sovereignty of God, "The sovereignty of God I take to be the absolute authority, rule, and government of God in the whole of that reality that exists distinct from Himself in the realms of nature and of grace. It is a concept that respects His relation to other beings and to all other being and existence. It is, therefore, a relative concept, or a concept of relation."

He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. (Deut. 4:39)

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works ALL THINGS according to the counsel of HIS WILL so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of HIS glory. (Eph. 1:11-12)

Throughout the Scriptures we see a God who is sovereign, but also relational! In Ephesians 1 we are given a picture of our relationship with a sovereign God.

  • He has blessed up with spiritual blessing through Christ (vs. 3)
  • He chose us before the foundation of the world (vs. 4)
  • We are adopted children of God in Christ (vs. 5)
  • We are beloved (vs. 6)
  • We are redeemed & forgiven (vs. 7)
  • Our Father is rich in grace and he LAVISHED it upon us (vs. 7-8)
  • He has a plan for the "fullness of time" to unite all things to him (vs. 9-10)

Why then, do I have a problem trusting in a sovereign Lord, who has a plan, who gives me salvation, who is rich in grace, and unites all things to himself (& the list could go on, and on, and on)? If I know that God is sovereign and I know that he is good, then why do I pitch a fit when my life doesn't pan out the way I think it should? Why do I feel such an entitlement and attachment to my plans? Why do I feel like God “owes” it to me to show me what He’s up to?

I'm not sure why I must fight this battle repeatedly, but until I have a right understanding of who God is and who I am in light of his sovereignty I think it will continue. Until then I must saturate my heart with the truths found in Ephesians 1 and keep fighting the tension I feel.

How about you? Anyone else have a hard time with this or is it just me?

Much love - Brit

Posted on October 25, 2010 and filed under Spiritual Journey.