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Sovereignty // Aaron Ivey

This post is a part of the Sovereignty of God Blog Series going on throughout the months of July and August. You can read about the series and see a schedule of the posts here. You can subscribe to all the posts here.

Today’s post is from Aaron Ivey. Aaron currently lives in Austin, Texas and works at The Austin Stone Community Church as a pastor of worship. He also recently released a new album that has had pretty good success and I absolutely love. Aaron and I have been friends over the interwebs for a while now and he has a wonderful perspective on the church, worship, mission, and justice.

Trusting an unseen God with the course and direction of my life had always been an incredibly difficult thing to grasp.  It had been more of a catch phrase than an actual way of living.  Sure we trust that God is good, and that He loves and cares for us.  But to actually trust Him with the details, the inner workings of life, seems much more difficult.  However, over the past two years, placing trust in a sovereign God (although still unseen) has been the most liberating and cherished things I’ve experienced.

Two years ago, my wife and I saw a devastating photograph of a little Haitian boy, malnourished and abandoned, and our hearts were moved with a sense of compassion and righteous anger that any child would have to experience such a thing.  We knew we had to respond to the need of this orphaned child, so shortly after seeing the photo, we began the long process of adoption.  A few months into the process, another baby girl was admitted to the same rescue center in a small village of Haiti, and we quickly began adopting her as well.  Two long years have passed. Although progress has been made in their adoption journey, the process is complex, and we still find ourselves waiting for them to come home.

Never have I seen such a painful paradox than the one I see in my own family.  I have two children that live amidst the devastation and abject poverty of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. They have barely escaped malnutrition, abandonment, and even death.  They live in a village with only a few hours of electricity, scarce food supplies, and fall prey to yearly disastrous storms and hurricanes.  In their village, every day is a day of survival.  Contrast this scenario with my other two children that live in comfortable Austin, Texas.  These two, Cayden and Deacon, sleep in comfortable beds inside their air-conditioned bedroom.  Their pantry is loaded with plenty of food, fresh water flows from faucets, and they are comforted by the embrace of their mother and father every day.  The paradox of seeing half of my family living in comfortable USA and the other half living in devastating Haiti has absolutely wrecked me out.

In this season, there has been frustration and discomfort beyond explanation.  I’ve never experienced such a sense of anger towards the injustice of the world we live in.  I find myself thinking of my two Haitian children every day, wondering if they know they have a father that is working hard to bring them home.  I wake up every morning, stare at a photograph hanging on my bathroom mirror, and I am filled with sorrow that my Haitian children are not sleeping with their brothers right down the hall.

Yet, in the middle of all this pain, all this frustration, there is a sweetness in knowing and trusting that God is sovereign.  Perhaps His sovereignty, His careful planning, is never more apparent than in the times we see our own lack of control.  There is an insurmountable peace in knowing that my decisions, my actions, my workings are not responsible for bringing these kids home.  There is a peace in knowing that the sovereign God that created my children has been diligently crafting the story that is unfolding.  It was God that placed them in Haiti.  It was God that rescued them from death, as He burdened our heart with adoption. It was God that carefully planned the day they will be released to come home.  He knew it before time was created, and He wrote the story exactly as He wanted it.

A few years ago I read this in one of my favorite books, “The Sacrament of the Present Moment” by Jean-Pierre De Caussade.  “God and His divine order must be cherished in all things, just as it is, without asking for anything more; whatever he may offer us is not our business but God’s, and what He ordains is best.”

I cannot place trust in a system, a government, or a process to bring to my family to a place of completion.  I can only trust that my God, in all His kindness, planned this time of waiting, and knew it to be perfect and best.  I may not understand it, but it doesn’t change that he pre-destined the story exactly as He saw fit.  And, it’s with a wreck-less sense of working, hoping, and praying that I patiently walk through this time of sorrow.  He is present in the sorrow, and that is something to be cherished.

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  • http://www.belovedspear.org BelovedSpear

    Your faith and your graceful work in the lives of these children is heartening. I think the challenge for the faithful lies not in Christ-filled stories like yours, but in finding God’s “perfect and best” blessing in those stories that seem utterly lacking evidence of the loving God we know.

    For each of the children blessed by the presence of someone like yourself, there is one who is not, and whose life seems to us only bitterness and horror. We can, of course, say that this is all part of God’s mysterious plan. We can say that somehow, the terrified child hacked to death by machetes in the Congo is a manifestation of God’s ultimate loving design for us all. We can say that the young mother clawing at the walls as the Zyclon-B fills the showers at Auschwitz is a vital part of God’s joyous promise.

    We can say these things.

    But I cannot, both with the reason God gave me and a heart that yearns for Him, look on such things and say that God would proclaim them “all for the best.”

    • http://www.aaronivey.com aaronivey.com

      actually, I believe all the other orphaned/malnurished/brink-of-death kids that are still in that village in Haiti are in the same boat my kids are in. meaning, they are still a part of God’s story. God’s sovereignty and perfect plan is not limited to only the happy stories.

      you are right, in that God’s plan is mysterious. but we can’t associate sovereignty and God’s perfect plan only with the things we perceive to be good.

    • http://www.triciazody.com Tricia Zody

      BelovedSpear, you are right to say that God’s plan is mysterious. And you have aptly described the evil that surrounds us in this present day world. I’m sure His heart is grieved at the sufferings of man. Yet, He saw fit that one man be stripped of His flesh and nailed to a cross for our good. And thank God He did! Yes, He is a mysterious God. But the Word shows that what Satan means for evil, God can use for our good. I think this may be the message Aaron is conveying in this blog.

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