I had a really hard time not letting my negative emotions get the best of me this past weekend. I think it had a lot to do with my lack of sleep, the bad news of Bowen’s infection, and some pretty terrible things we saw some other patients dealing with. Sarah also pointed out to me that she hadn’t seen me reading or praying for a couple of days, and said she always notices a difference in my mood when that’s the case. She encouraged me to take some time to think, read, and pray today. I feel so much better, like I’ve got my head and heart on straight again. Also, the doctors said Bowen looks great today and that his tests indicate that the antibiotics are working. He’s been eating and sleeping well and has been happy pretty much all day. Here’s a picture my brother took…

God’s Wide-Angle Lens

I reread the first chapter of the book Desiring God last week and came across something I can’t stop thinking about. I’ve wanted to write about it several times, but have been struggling with the final sentence of the following paragraph.

“The infinite complexity of the divine mind is such that God has the capacity to look at the world through two lenses. He can look through a narrow lens or through a wide-angle lens. When God looks at a painful or wicked event through his narrow lens, he sees the tragedy or the sin for what it is in itself and he is angered and grieved. “I do not delight in the death of anyone, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:32). But when God looks at a painful or wicked event through his wide-angle lens, he sees the tragedy or the sin in relation to everything leading up to it and everything flowing out from it. He sees it in all the connections and effects that form a pattern or mosaic stretching into eternity. This mosaic in all its parts-good and evil- brings him delight. (Psalm 115:3).”

-John Piper

I really love this analogy, but when I read the last sentence I thought, “What? How is it possible that any evil, tragic, or sinful event could bring God delight!?” At first, I couldn’t accept it, and I’m still struggling through it (especially in light of some things I saw in the hospital this weekend). If I’m honest, the reason I’m struggling so deeply with this is because it goes against everything I thought most of my life, but I believe it’s true. I have pages of notes and scripture on why I believe it’s true, but I’m going to attempt to sum it up in a few simple thoughts.

When I see Bowen in pain, all I want to do is make it better. Once he is comforted or relieved of his pain, by whatever means, I experience even greater joy than I had before I saw him suffering.

When God sees Bowen suffer, he simultaneously sees the end of his suffering through his wide-angle lens. I have to believe this brings him delight. Even as he saw His own son, Jesus Christ, suffer death, he simultaneously saw the hope that was coming for all mankind. His death is the primary example of God allowing evil to be carried out because of the good that would flow from it.

Who can delight in a work in progress, except for it’s creator, who clearly sees the vision of what it will become?

Matt

-He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth;and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Daniel 4:35

-Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’? Isaiah 45:9

-If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Job 9:12
-But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Romans 9:20
-But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33:11
-For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth,making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:9