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Here is where your proud waves halt

February 19, 2007

My 12 year old son Joel got his left hand caught in a treadmill Saturday night.  He’s having surgery Wednesday morning to graft skin back on to the palm side of his 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers.  Thankfully, there appears at this time to be no tendon or nerve or artery damage. 

Now as theists, we believe that God from all eternity ordains whatsoever comes to pass.  It was God’s will for Joel to get his hand caught in a treadmill.  But it was also God who provided that Joel was able to reach the safety key and stop the treadmill after his hand was caught.   It was as though God who says to the oceans, “Thus far and no further, here is where your proud waves halt,” said also to the treadmill, “Thus far and no further.”

God not only allows our sufferings, he precisely apportions them.   This is a hard truth, for I would have to affirm it even if he lost his whole hand, or I lost my whole son. 

But what if it wasn’t true?  What if God wasn’t in control of the exact measure of our afflictions?  What if our sufferings were truly random and limitless?  What comfort would there be in that?  How would I then be able to believe that God works all things for the good of those who love him?

Everyone tries to comfort themselves in times of affliction by thinking, “It could have been worse.”  But as Katie and I prayed together Saturday night, God made me mindful of his own restraining hand and it gave a new meaning to that rather godless and impersonal maxim.  As I said in a previous post, God sits like a refiner over a crucible and carefully attends to the exact amount of heat he adds to our lives. 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2007 10:53 pm

    The Scripture reference is Job 38:11

  2. February 20, 2007 8:17 am

    Glad to hear that Joel is going to be ok – much as I like the title of this post, you also could have called it “MORE Lessons Learned in a Medical Crisis”.

    Was the treadmill in question just a normal running treadmill? When I first read about Joel on the prayerchain, my kids were actually taking turns jogging on my mom’s treadmill. It has a cord that gets attached to the bottom of their shirts, so that if they slip or jump off, the treadmill stops automatically. Even so, maybe I shouldn’t let them run on it anymore? We have been to the emergency room quite enough, thank you.

  3. February 20, 2007 8:26 am

    The hand surgeon yesterday strongly suggested that treadmills and kids don’t mix. The clip is a good idea. The treadmill Joel was on had one but he didn’t have it clipped on. He was able to reach it to get it to stop. But Joel says that the cord on the clip is too long and you could still probably get hurt even if it was clipped on.

  4. Hanna permalink
    February 20, 2007 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the update on Joel. We’ve been praying for him and your family.

    I hope this isn’t along “it could have been worse” lines (if so, forgive me), but I was pondering the other day how it’s providential that Joel has already chosen soccer as a preferred sport above gymnastics. It seems a way that God was providing in advance for a bound on the emotional pain.

  5. Oddball permalink
    February 20, 2007 9:50 pm

    Regarding Rom. 8:28, allow me to quote from the Romans outline you gave me when I was a freshman at U of I:

    “Note that the subject is emphatically not ‘All things’ as in KJV. Even ‘God’ in NIV is not a satisfactory translation. Subject is ‘Spirit’ from v. 27.”

    Is the focus then on the Spirit’s work in us, rather than God superintending evil?

  6. February 20, 2007 10:14 pm

    Dude. When you were a freshman I was a 20 yr old undergraduate Arminian scanning a couple of paperback commentaries to decide what felt right to my autonomy-lovin’ flesh.

    Now I know that God rules absolutely all things no matter what you take as the subject of sunergei. I’ll preach this text in the fall. Meanwhile, I’m going to look my son in the eyes in the morning and tell him he’s in the Lord’s hands. Not that the Lord will make the best of whatever the surgeons muck up.

  7. Oddball permalink
    February 20, 2007 10:34 pm

    I’ll pray that God guides the hands of the surgeons.

    (Tiptoes away.)

  8. February 20, 2007 10:57 pm

    Thanks, bro.

  9. Egana permalink
    March 2, 2007 1:50 pm

    ” I was a 20 yr old undergraduate Arminian scanning a couple of paperback commentaries to decide what felt right to my autonomy-lovin’ flesh.”

    ah, youth…

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