I believe God is sovereign. Life doesn’t just “happen”…He is in control of every detail. This is what I believe, but how does it affect how I live, how I feel, how I respond to situations that touch my life?
I woke up this morning and thought, “Yes, we’re definitely entering dry season” as I looked out the window to see the hillside across the valley covered in heavy dew. It doesn’t rain much in dry season, but the colder weather means more dew so the earth usually remains covered in green anyway. It was overcast and I hoped for a sunny day as I zipped my fleece and started making breakfast – apples with peanut butter and sultanas (raisins from Australia).
As I finished breakfast prep with Mikayla, Laurel, and Timothy sitting on the counter waving to friends passing by on the road, the sun peeked from behind the clouds, and I thought of hanging laundry on the line. I was relieved to remember that there was no laundry to hang out today, and we moved on with breakfast. Immediately after breakfast, James had a phone call from Apple in which he learned that they will be replacing his broken computer with a brand new, top of the line, Macbook Pro. When he got off the phone, I said, “I guess you’re going to have a good day, huh?” :-)
James left to go to the office, and the kids and I settled into our morning at home. Laurel and Timothy had both gotten up really early this morning and, with not quite enough sleep, both were prone to a lot of crying all morning. I tried to have Laurel take a nap, but she just cried all the more. A friend came over to visit and said that Laurel’s temper tantrum over not wanting to nap was “cute” (this friend has kids much older than mine…different ages and stages). As my friend held Timothy on her lap and read a story to him, she blinked away tears and commented how sweet it was to hold such a little person again. I realized yet again how much I need to cherish this time with my little people even if there is sometimes a lot of crying.
As I got ready to prepare lunch I saw an email from someone in James’ department saying that something had come up that made it necessary to close the whole department for an hour this morning. It was vague, but I knew it must have been something bad. But James hadn’t called…Halfway through getting lunch on the table James got home and shared the news: A Papua New Guinean couple (the husband works in the literacy office, and they are from a language group who is translating the Old Testament) went to the hospital to give birth yesterday. At the hospital they were told that her time was not as close as they thought, and the hospital staff member went home. She gave birth with only her husband there to deliver. They did not know, but they were expecting twins. It was twin boys. One is living; one is dead. Can you imagine the joy over-shadowed by such awful pain?!?! Or is it the pain lightened by the joy of one living son? Why God?
I asked that question, “Why God?”, not that long ago in a totally different light. When God provided for us to buy a vehicle in PNG, I couldn’t help but ponder…why? Of course I’m thrilled and excited and grateful, but it doesn’t make sense to me. I’m learning that there are a lot of things that don’t make sense to me. But really, why would God provide a vehicle for me when there are plenty of other women in PNG who walk much farther than I do, carrying much heavier loads than I ever will. Why was I born in America and grew up rarely coming face to face with anything close to the realities that my PNG friends face everyday. When I heard about these precious twins, I realized I cannot comprehend what these parents are going through because it is SO far removed from any of my life experiences (real or vicarious).
I cannot imagine being pregnant with twins and not knowing! I cannot imagine having a dead baby and not knowing…did he die in the womb? did he die during birth? what happened? I come from a culture that demands answers to questions like these, but the culture I am living in often doesn’t even ask these questions. My culture requires a scientific explanation; this culture is sometimes content with no explanation or more often sees a spiritual explanation (someone did sorcery and caused X).
My PNG friends live with the reality that their babies might die (some don’t even name their babies until they are several months old because they might not make it). They live with the reality that their husband can marry multiple wives, and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. They live with the reality that their daughters will be handled inappropriately by men and it will go unnoticed, unpunished…almost accepted, but not condoned…just part of the reality that is life in PNG.
I live in PNG, but I will never know what it is like to be a PNG woman. I live here, but I am coddled and protected by my white skin and American passport. A friend of mine once laid her body over the body of a PNG woman who was being brutally beaten by her husband. My friend knew she was safe because of her white skin; he wouldn’t dare hit a white woman. Even if her white skin didn’t protect her, she didn’t care because she knew this woman needed help. I admire her courage. She made a difference in that PNG woman’s life even if just for that day. There are so many lives that I cannot touch, but I pray that each time God gives me the opportunity I will reach out and make a difference even if it is just for one person for one moment.
God is God. He is sovereign and in full control of every detail of every life at all times. How we explain things, where we find answers, and what we do with the answers, or lack there of, does not change the fact that God is orchestrating it all for His glory and our good.
In times like this when I realize how little I know, and how little I can control life events, I am all the more grateful that God is loving. God is merciful. God is faithful. God is just. God is good. And most of all, I am grateful that God is trustworthy…I don’t have to have the answers, life doesn’t have to make sense to me…even though he allows evil to take place in this world…I choose to trust Him because of Who He is. God is love.