All that he pleases.

She got the call today
One out of the gray
And when the smoke cleared
It took her breath away
She said she didn’t believe
It could happen to me
I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees.”

You don’t have to search for suffering in life. Like a phone call out of nowhere, it finds you. Just exist long enough in this fallen world and heartache will march its way up to your doorstep, closest to whatever you call “home.” And as you wade through the waters of sorrow in the aftermath, you will find yourself inextricably bound up in the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty.

That’s exactly what I find as I walk the paths of lingering meditation following Davin’s death. “There is no escape; if God is the Creator, then He is responsible for the presence of [evil]. We might as well face it.” (Reformed is Not Enough, Wilson, 28). That God is in heaven, does all that he pleases, and brings forth both prosperity and calamity are truths I know. But then I don’t really know them. God is still working on that.

And so from time to time I find myself thinking, “This just isn’t fair. My friend who loved the Lord, who was his child, he’s dead. And these crack addicts I see everyday are alive and well.” No, I don’t stand up on an electrical transformer and shout my frustration at God to the hood. And I trust that the Lord is using Davin’s death to the praise of his glory. But the murmur lurks in subtle moments of tried thinking.

As I deal with my anger (among other emotional responses) over Davin’s passing, and about any or all of my frustrated expectations, I realize it’s a response ultimately tied to the question of God’s fairness. But when you dig a bit more, or when God’s word starts digging at you, it becomes clear that my angry response is one of arrogance. “How dare the Lord do this to me or to my friends. I deserve better than this.”

Into the abyss and void of my sorrowful thinking Jesus speaks. “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 19:15).

I feel like I (or my friends) deserve better. But Jesus corrects my mistaken notion kindly and firmly; the world operates not on the principle of desert, but of mercy. If God was really fair, I’d be killed instantly for the sin I committed in the last five hours of my life. I wasted his air. I tried to steal his glory. No, as long as I exist on this earth, I am alive because of mercy. So there can be no talk of “I deserve” unless it is about wrath and hell and the offense of his glory.

As we live out our lives in the midst of God’s sovereign purposes, some dark and some bright, we cannot help but be humbled. But something starts to happen as we kneel in the dust, as we silently embrace the stroke of God (Lamentations 3); he changes our hearts to delight in his wise disposal of all things, to actually find somber joy in his painting of the picture of redemptive history. Jonathan Edwards said,

I have often since had not only a conviction [of God’s sovereignty] but a delightful conviction. The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. But my first conviction was not so (Desiring God, 38).

This is the supreme grace I find in the midst of this ordeal: God is teaching me to rejoice in his absolute right to do all that he pleases, to submit humbly to his crushing blow, and to be satisfied, in tears, with his brush stroke of glory. He patiently wrestles right along with me. He teaches my heart to delight in his will, and in time to say,

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes… in faithfulness you have afflicted me” (Psalm 119:71, 75).

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4 thoughts on “All that he pleases.

  1. Hi Eric, I do not do well with facebook so I decided to say thank you in the reply area of your blog. I have copied all your messages, though I have not read them all yet. Gary and I are recovering from an attack of a cold bug. I guess our immune systems were poor. Anyway, I just wanted to say “thank you” for honoring the Lord through Davin’s death. It has not been easy; however, it has helped to know that God is sovereign and always in control. Someday I will meet Davin at heaven’s gate and I will once again get my hug and he will be able to introduce me to Jesus. I had a friend give me a beautiful vision. She told me she had been praying for Davin with a small group of ladies when she started crying, saying that she saw Davin walking tall and straight through the grass of a field toward Jesus. This was a wonderful picture to envision as he was no longer bent in discomfort or pain, he was walking tall, he was walking to meet Jesus – the prayer I prayed after I realized Jesus would not be answering my prayer request for an earthly healing for Davin. I knew I could ask for Jesus to meet Davin and wow, how cool that he loved Davin enough to give him the beauty of God’s great outdoors for a back drop for their meeting. I miss Davin and I always will, but I know he is in a better place. Davin’s mom, Janet Henrickson
    gjthenrickson@juno.com

    • Thank you, Mrs. Henrickson. It has been an honor to think about Davin, even to share a small portion of grief in his life and death, and to be changed by his story. We shall both meet him again very soon and, oh, the stories we’ll tell of the glories of our Lord. I am so very grateful for your response. God bless.

  2. Hi Eric, Davin’s mom called to let me know she accidentally commented as “Lauren H.” She also wanted you to know that she can be reached at the email above (rather than facebook). Thanks for another thought-provoking post— these posts are great daily reminders for me 🙂

    • Thanks to the “real” Lauren H. (-: It is a great pleasure for me to write and to share; I’m glad it encourages.

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