I didn’t get the promotion that ash & I were hoping for.
We were frustrated and confused, but if you asked anybody else, they would have likely said they are so strong and peaceful…
We knew intellectually that somewhere in the Bible, God promises good for His people, and so we knew that if we were to be good Christians, we were to be peaceful and even rejoice in the “disappointing” news.
We didn’t want people to know that we were questioning ourselves and God because Christians don’t do that.
And then we ended up in Louisville, KY at Southern Seminary, where God worked in and through our lives more powerfully and certainly than ever before.
And we looked back and said (with honesty this time), isn’t God so good?
He protected us by not giving me the promotion that we were longing for. Had He given me the promotion, I probably would not have surrendered to the longing to go to seminary.
He used life circumstance to overcome my skeptical thoughts and seemingly endless list of what-if’s.
So we rejoiced.
As we should have.
What this scenario also revealed is a self-centered, self-exalting, self-promoting worldview masked by submitting to God’s sovereignty in all things.
We weren’t rejoicing in God’s sovereignty in all things and His inherent goodness. We were rejoicing in ourselves. We were rejoicing that there was still hope that we were the center of the universe.
Ash would likely say at this point, you are being too hard on yourself. And maybe I am, but maybe I’m not being hard enough.
I know (intellectually at least) that apart from the work of Jesus applied by the Spirit, every intention of my heart is only evil, always.
Should we have rejoiced when God granted us a peak into His great plan for us? Absolutely, yes. What a kind and generous God.
“God often doesn’t explain his providence to us, past or future. He asks us to trust him, to endure, and to know, in the words of the old gospel song, that we’ll ‘understand it better by and by.’ Sometimes, though, he grants us a glimpse in the middle of it all of how he’s silently working toward something joyous” (Russell Moore, “Adopted for Life”, p. 113).
But the rejoicing should have been from day one; from the moment that I did not get the promotion.
Because God works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
The same passage that we were submitting to intellectually and using as a mask to all who would ask and probably reciting in some form or fashion to our friends and family so that they would think we are really Christian…
Simply intellectual agreement and the result is self-exalting pride.
Application and washing of your soul with that truth results in the renewal of your heart and mind, which results in Christlikeness.
The rejoicing should not have been a response to seeing, evaluating, and agreeing with God’s perfect plan being laid out for my life.
The rejoicing should have been a response to knowing that God is good and God is sovereign, regardless of whether I saw, understood, or agreed with what He was doing in my life.
“I can also tell you he’s good to you, even when – maybe especially when – he’s up to things you can’t understand” (113).
I will close with a story about a close friend:
He and his wife had been trying to conceive for a few months, and the next “waiting period” was almost up; she would be able to take a pregnancy test soon.
She woke up early the next morning unable to sleep and in the middle of trying to navigate all of the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that come with the setting, she took another test.
She re-entered the room where my friend was still in bed half-asleep, and with a long face, heavy shoulders, and a voice laden with uncertainty, disappointment, and concern, reported the news: a single line, not pregnant.
Without skipping a beat, my friend went from half-asleep to fully-awake, and exclaimed with genuine excitement, trust, and glee, “yes! It is the Lord’s good will that we are not pregnant this month! Isn’t it great that because of Jesus we can rejoice in every situation?”
His wife was caught so off guard that she even laughed a little, considered what her husband was not only telling her but living out himself, and the deep peace (not the peace that comes with covering up the surface), found only in Christ, began to guard her heart and mind that moment.
I’m not necessarily encouraging you to try this tactic if you are struggling with infertility.
I am encouraging you to reflect and meditate on Romans 8:28 that you might be transformed by the renewal of your mind into the image of Jesus for His glory and every person in the world’s good.
Where are you having a hard time trusting in God’s sovereignty and goodness?