Friday, August 11, 2006

Not to Muddy the Waters, but...

Boomama has got a post up that has people talking.... 100 comments and counting... about the sovereignty of God. The topic has been floating around in my noggin for a while and, while I think I am comfortable with my views on the topic, I am not so sure I could adequately explain my beliefs to someone else. (Maybe no one can. It is a weighty topic. But I think it is worth a try nonetheless.)

So, I am anxiously awaiting Leslie's posts in response to this. Her fist one is here. She always gets me thinking. Me gusta Leslie.

And you may want to go read at least Boomama's post before continuing....

But all this has me thinking (again) about something that happened several months ago. I was in the pediatrician's office with Bao for her well-child check-up. After the exam, the doctor was "chatting" with her. After making some kind of comment about how her parents were taking good care of her, he said something like this:

"You sure are a lucky girl. Someone must have had a great plan for you."

The "someone" was supposed to be God. I'm pretty sure of that.

Not desiring to engage in a lengthy theological debate with the pediatrician, I just let it go. Well, I let HIM go. But anyone who knows me for, like, 7.8 seconds, knows that I most certainly did NOT let "it" go.

The comment didn't sit right with me: the implication that it was God's plan all along for Bao to be surrendered by her birth parents and to grow up with us. I just don't believe that. Why would God make families in the first place if we weren't meant to be raised in them? But, for whatever reason, God allowed Bao's birthparents to relinquish her, and for her to be brought into our family.

I DO think she is the child that He wanted here, otherwise she would not be. But did He originally plan for us to raise her? I think no.

And herein lies the problem. I cannot, off the top of my head, quote Scripture to back up my beliefs. (So perhaps I should not believe this way at all...) But it is something that I have on my "list" to study. (It takes me a long time to flesh out things like this, but I wanted to speak now while everyone else was. I am hoping the conversation will lead me toward a more biblical understanding of God's will.)

So, if you feel like weighing in, I'd love it. Agree or disagree, just be civil. And if you could point me to actual scripture, I would sure love that.

And, just an FYI, I know the concept of permissive will. But I don't know, scripturally, where that comes from.

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Blogger Brenda said...

Not to muddy the waters even more, but Moses comes to mind. That's all I have for now, as I am at work and should be, you know, working. I'll come back later.

Fri Aug 11, 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

To me this is where a freewill discussion starts (that always leads to controversy)…

God knows our plan (psalm 139) from the moment we are created (vs. 13). He knew B’s parents would give her up. He allowed it. That’s our free will – to not stick with God’s best plan.

Since God knew before she was born that she would be abandoned he also knew before she was born that she would be yours. Which I think is pretty great.

Why do things like this happen? Especially to children? I guess we won’t know until we get to heaven.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

Fri Aug 11, 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous mom a said...

Each of us was created to be part of God's plan for us (and for others). Seeing that God did not want to force Himself on us, but wanted us to feel FREE to choose Him and His plan, He gave us a "capacity-to-choose;" this is our will. It's a free will, NOT because we can choose anything we want but because, when He gave it to us it was FREE of any encumbrance -- like greed or pride or desire to control others or workaholism or anything else.
But when that bite was taken out of the apple, greed, pride, etc. became a part of lives and our wills were hindered in their freely choosing God's plan. But, God's mercy and love being what they are, we would, when choosing in such a way as to make the original plan unattainable, be given plan B. Sometimes C or D or E. . . (you get the idea.)
As we more and more become who we were meant to be (or as we are being perfected) we choose God more freely (we have free will) because the various strangleholds on our will have been broken.
Does anyone think that any of this makes sense??!!
Anyway, I'm embarassed to admit I'm on plan W.

Sat Aug 12, 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

I had this big long thing I was going to post on this, but after a lengthy discussion with T, I am going to just keep my mouth shut. Not that I think any of the view points are wrong, but it could be debated to death and no one would ever have the perfect answer!!

Sat Aug 12, 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous JD said...

As a woman who desires to have children and watches teenagers I mentor have them before they want them, I am touched by the context of your question. Each child is given up for adoption for different reasons. Some children are borne out of the sin of two people. Why does God allow that to happen? I don't know. It is one of God's mysteries that I don't believe I'll understand until I get to heaven. I do know that He truly desires our love and devotion, and if we submit to His will, we will have peace in the midst of all the storms of life. This life isn't perfect, but Heaven will be. That is the hope I hold onto. Romans 8:28 is a verse I often turn to. All of Chp. 8 is good to read.

Mon Aug 14, 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Grafted Branch said...

I like that you're looking for a biblical based defense. Whenever divisive topics like this arise, I try to keep it all in the context of God's timeLESSness. He is NOT bound by time! We can't even fathom it. But look at how many biblical truths are beholden to it (time): predestination, election, sovereignty, providence, even prayer has a "now" and "then."

Sometimes I just have to become as a little child that isn't going to fully wrap my mind around the bigness of our great and holy God! And that's good enough for me.

Mon Aug 14, 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

OK, I've done me some studying, and here's what I've concluded: God works in mysterious ways.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 - As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

Was is mere chance that Moses's mother chose to give up her son to save his life? Was it a coincidence that Pharoah's daughter found the basket? Was this God's original plan or was He just looking on as events unfolded? We know He chose Moses to save the children of Israel, but when? Was he spared because he was chosen, or chosen because he was spared? Moses doubted he was the one because of his slow speech. Exodus 4:11 - The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?"

Psalm 139:13 - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Proverbs 16:9 - In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 - Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

John 9:1 - As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

Romans 9:20 - But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Bottom line: His plans are perfect and will not fail, whether we understand them or not.

Mon Aug 14, 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger PEZmama said...

Brenda - I love it. I was truly encouraged by your comment. I bet that took a lot of work. Thank you.

Tue Aug 15, 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

My pleasure, Lori. I love these discussions because it helps me nail down why I should or should not believe what I was taught to believe.

Wed Aug 16, 12:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Cup-a-Joe said...

Good Hebraic thinking (the kind of thinking Jesus did when He was on earth) requires you to hold two ideas in tension. This is sometimes called "two-handed theology."

On one hand, God is soverign and controls everything

On the other hand, I have free will to choose.

How do I reconcile these ideas? I don't. The Greek trained mind wants to end all tension and seeming contradiction. The Hebraic trained mind wants to hold ideas in tension to achieve the balance of truth.

Or as C.S. Lewis once said, When we get to heaven we will find out that conflicting ideas are not resolved into some conclusion, but that they were never in contradiction at all to begin with.

There is a sense that we are limited human beings and cannot know the unfathomable depths of God's mind. On the other hand, He gave us brains capable of great thoughts to wrestle with these ideas as well.

By the way...
Mom a said, what you said makes perfect sense, but I must admit I have not heared it explained quite that way before. Right now my brain is processing it (months will pass...)

Fri Aug 18, 07:47:00 AM  

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