GOD at Work Stories

 

By Matt Marohn

Several years ago the question of God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will was swirling around our church. It had the unfortunate effect of becoming a very divisive thing. At the time I didn’t give it too much thought. Recently, for various reasons it became impossible to ignore. We can understand that love requires giving freedom, but there is a verse in God’s Word that indicates God is sovereign when it comes to His hand at work in human hearts. How would I make sense of this? Has my love for Him been coerced? If so, what do we make of God who is love?
 
After a conversation one evening with one who leaned in a direction that seemed to strain the role of free will in love, I went home very distraught. I went outside, under a beautiful canopy of stars, and prayed as hard as I ever have seeking clarity in this. Lord, help me here; I need to understand how these things work? Cracks are forming in how I understand you, and I am afraid that I may have misunderstood you. This was a desperate prayer as it challenged the core of my relationship with God. Have I confused my love for a concealed pride, as I was charged? Was I living in deception? My mind needed to understand this.
While this was happening, a parallel story was taking place. It was in the months prior to this night that my brother and sister came to an awful conclusion…our dad’s mind was failing. He was reaching the point where we feared he could no longer safely take care of himself. Our dad had always been a rock…capable, independent and solid. His mind, always sharp. He of course did not see his mental decline as we did.
 
We eventually elected to use a care service called Visiting Angels. They would provide  full-time care at home for dad. When the day came to bring this new plan to dad, my brother and sister were gone. I had to do the job myself. It was my dad, three people from the service, and I meeting at dad’s house. Interestingly, this was the day after my desperate prayer for understanding. This was a hard week.
Dad welcomed me and the three strangers into his house. He was confused as to what it was all about, but he was a gracious host. We sat down around a table, and I began to tell him that he was going to have someone with him all the time, as a helper. I told him that my siblings, Julie and Bob, and I thought this was a good idea. His demeanor began to change. It wasn’t registering with him that he had a need for this. I gave evidence to why we thought this way, but he only dug his heals in deeper. Then, each one of these trained professionals took a turn trying to explain things to dad. Dad’s confusion was turning to anger. I whispered in the ear of one of them, “This is impossible, dad cannot understand why any of this is necessary…it is beyond his ability to comprehend”.  I was really becoming afraid of where this was going. Dad was always slow to anger, but there were limits.
In exasperation, having all failed, they looked at me as if to say, “He’s your dad, you fix it.” No one knew what to do next. Dad had stopped looking at me, or anybody else for that matter. I brought myself around to dad, got down on my knees so I was looking at him very close, face to face. When I thought I was going to see anger in his eyes, I saw instead a desperate look of confusion. His slate blue eyes were piercing me and wanted to know what was going on. I felt compassion, for he truly could not understand why this was happening. I took a breath, not knowing till then what I would say. Then I spoke, “Dad, I know you do not understand what is happening here, but I love you. Do you trust me?” I repeated it again, “I know you do not understand what is happening here, but I love you…do you trust me?”
Now, there is no way I can describe all that went through my mind at that moment. I was immediately taken back to the night before, under the stars, desperately crying out to God for understanding. A finite mind reaching to understand a love which is infinite, and dwells outside of the comprehensible. I knew in that moment, God answered me, and He used this situation, and my own voice to do it. I sat back on my haunches, stunned at what just happened. Nobody else spoke. The others were aware of only one of the two conversations that just occurred.
 
I can’t tell you how long I sat there, amazed at what just happened. All I can say is this; two of us in that room were now at peace. Dad was now calm and never resisted again. That was the last of it; and interestingly, even though his memory was short, we never had to have that conversation again. As for me, I never had that conversation with God again. In a way only God could orchestrate, He told me He loves me, and I can trust Him even if I can’t understand how all these things work together. What more do I need?
Matt Marohn
 
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