Archives For sovereignty

Whose fault is it?

Jason Petermann  —  December 27, 2010 — 1 Comment

There are so many things that go through your mind when you face circumstances in your life that are tragic. As I have read through the Scriptures I see that even Jesus’ disciples first thoughts when confronted with someone in a tragic situation was to ask, “whose fault is this,” or “why?”  I am not one who believes that asking “why” offends God or makes Him mad. I think it is normal and really I believe God even expects us to ask questions when we find ourselves in those tragic circumstances.

Jesus and the disciples ran in to a blind man in John 9:1-5.  He had been blind since birth, and as mentioned, the first thoughts of the disciples were to be able to have a reason, to understand why this horrible situation existed.  After all, if something bad happens, someone has to be at fault, right?  So they immediately thought that either the man who was blind, or his parents had sinned.  Some how, they had been so bad that God decided he would punish them by giving them a blind son. Their view of God was that of some powerful and demanding overlord that would punish you physically if you did something bad.  How awful to have those first thoughts of a loving and gracious God. Certainly God could do that if he pleased.  Certainly God has every right to punish those who sin.  But that is not how God works.

Jesus replied to the disciples request to place blame with another view of the situation.  He says in John 9:3

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

It was not a matter of sin on anyone’s behalf.  It was a matter of God wanting to do something that people would look at the situation and say, “Only God could have done that, it had to be a God thing.” When you think about it, how awesome is it to be someone that God chooses for His works to be displayed?

As we look at our circumstances with our son Josiah, we certainly would say that we wish we never had to face this.  I think as parents this is a normal thought, to remove pain for our kids. It is not our choosing; it is not easy. You never want to see your child hurting, even to the point of struggling to breath. Though we would take this from him if we could, we would also would stand here and say “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  We believe Josiah is alive and will make a full recovery so that God will be lifted up and those that look at Josiah will only be able to say, “Only God could have done this.”

It is God that sends the rain that allows the harvest.  It is God that brings winter that turns to spring.  God is sovereign.  He is in control.  That does not change in the good or the bad of life.  We hold to that as we look at the works of God displayed in our family.

Here is an update on Josiah as of Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 9:45 PM.

What an incredible day we have had so far!  Josiah does not rest very well at night, so we just never know what to expect out of him during the day.  He generally has slept a lot during the day, but today he was very alert and got a lot accomplished!

I have some exciting news! I will be able to take off 4 weeks from work!  This has been made possible because some of my co-workers at Best Buy (where I work, if you did not know) have gifted me a month of their vacation pay. Words cannot even begin to describe how grateful my wife and I are for the generosity and love shown by the people at Best Buy.  This will allow me to be with Josiah through these very intense first weeks.

Here are some highlights from the day:

  • I spent the night again at the hospital with Josiah, and in the middle of the night he started singing songs like Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone and Say, Say.  I find it amazing that though that is my weak time, Josiah is strong and sings songs of worship that encourage me.
  • He woke up this morning to a great breakfast, which he ate most of.  He has had quite the appetite and seems to almost always be hungry!
  • He also had physical therapy today, and was able to not only get out of bed, but with assistance, he walked out of his room and to a window in the hallway!  After that, he sat in a chair for about an hour and did just great.  These sound like such little things, but a week ago he was still fighting for his life!  God has been so good to us to bring him back this far so quick, though Josiah does have quite a journey yet!
  • He also had his speech therapy today, and did a whole series of questions.  He did really well on those, and actually made it very comical as his sense of humor has been surfacing more and more.
  • He is able to move his body much better today.  Seeing him sit himself up in the bed today was just awesome!
  • We also got some encouraging news today from the rehab center that we would like to see him go to.  It looks like he may be able to get in.  One drawback to this is the location is in Grand Rapids.  Mary Free Bed is a highly recommended facility, and I feel it gives Josiah the greatest chance for a full and speedy recovery.  It is an intensive program, so visitors are basically not allowed most of the time, but he will have great care for the type of injury he has.
  • As I am typing this up, he is in occupational therapy and put his own socks on today. Again, I know this all sounds so routine, but HE PUT HIS OWN SOCKS ON!

Here are some specific and very important things to remember in prayer for Josiah and our family:

  • Please continue to pray that confusion and irritation will be minimal, and instead that he will keep that peaceful and quiet spirit.  His roughest time is during the night. Pray God gives us wisdom as we try and sort out the things that bring peace from the things that irritate him.
  • Pray that he will respond well to his rehab.  He had some great sessions today which showed us that his strength is returning and that he will be able to
  • Michigan Medicaid is his health coverage. With my job loss at the beginning of the year also came the loss of my insurance.  When we got here, the first thing we did is see if they qualified, and they did.  They are giving us issues right now, so please pray that it gets sorted quickly and completely.  This is obviously not as important as his life, but the financial concerns do weigh on me.  Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids gave us some very encouraging news today.  We are not getting the cart before the horse, but we may find out tomorrow how this will all be handled.
  • The Dr.s are still looking at the right side of his face that is not totally doing everything quite right; like raising eyebrows and such. They are leaning towards as a pinched nerve, which will heal as the swelling in his face/head goes down.  Please pray that there will be healing in that area of his face.
  • Continue to pray for my other kids.  Pray that they will have understanding and patience as we deal with Josiah. They have done so good with all of this so far! Also, pray for his older sister Jordan that she would be comforted as she is over 900 miles or so away.
  • Pray for Jennifer and I to have patience.  We know God is in control, we count on that, but we want to see him healed!  Also, pray for strength, endurance and the ability to get rest as fatigue is setting in a bit.  If we end up taking Josiah to Grand Rapids, I will go with him (made possible because of the gifting I mentioned earlier) and Jennifer will stay here with the kids.
  • Pray that we can minister to other hurting people that are up here as well. This is a place that is filled with very high highs and very low lows. It is a place that the love of God needs to be shined!

Ps. 66:16-20

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.

20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

Struggle

Jason Petermann  —  December 4, 2010 — 14 Comments

As I sit in his room late this night, I see my son struggling.  Struggling to breath on his own, struggling to awaken so that he can see those around him. I see him struggle to be comfortable with wires coming out of places in his body that they were not meant to be.  I see him struggle, and I struggle.  I struggle with understanding why I could not be there in his place.  I struggle with wondering why God allows bad things to happen to good, young people.  I struggle with knowing that I cannot fix anything for my son.  Those are real struggles.  This is real life.  There are times when the struggle can overwhelm us and it is hard.

What I do not struggle with is knowing that my son’s life is in God’s hands.  In fact, so is my life.  I do not struggle with knowing that God still loves me, even though my son lies in this hospital bed.  I do not struggle with believing that God has a purpose for all of this, and that God is interested in how I respond during this journey.  He is making me who He wants me to be.  He is making Josiah who He wants him to be as well.  There is no struggle with believing that God is in control of all things, and that every detail of the situation that I find myself in at this moment was planned out long ago.  God works from the future back, so I do not struggle with believing God has already been to the end of this, and there is good that He has planned.

There is nothing wrong with the struggle.  It pushes us towards a loving Father that is there with His arms wide open to embrace us.  We do not wish for the struggle.  We would have a pie in the sky type of life that is a fairy tale with no struggle at all.  I would never have asked for this for my son.  But I would never take away the opportunity for God to work in His life or in my family through this struggle.  Pray we run into God’s arms and continue to find the comfort of His embrace.

2 Corinthians 6:7 “We have spoken the truth, and God’s power has worked in us. In all our struggles we have said and done only what is right.”

Here is another quote from Mark Batterson’s Wild Goose Chase that really struck a chord with me, especially with our recent events:

“God is far more concerned about your future than you are. We put so much pressure on ourselves, as if the eternal plans of the almighty God are contingent upon our ability to decipher them.  The truth is, God want to reveal them more than we want to know them… In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

How much do you worry about things?  I have been guilty of asking God if He knew what was going on in my life.  Of course, I already knew the answer, but the fact remained that I did not think God was paying much attention to my situation.  I had taken control, or at least I thought I had, and my control only led to more worry and indecision.  I needed to listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…” Jesus then goes on to explain how God cares for the flowers and the birds, and since I am a little higher up the food chain, He certainly will take care of me.  He also reminds us to “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

I need to stay Kingdom minded and focused.  God will take care of showing me the steps I need to take… of that I am sure!  He works from the future back, and knowing that He has already been where I am going gives me great comfort.