Sunday, December 28, 2014

Does God Facepalm?

A Soliloquy on Sovereignty 

What the frickfrack does sovereignty even mean? Everybody always says God is sovereign. But that doesn't mean anything upfront.

I remember when my great-uncle died. He was a great-uncle physically, but a grandpa emotionally. I sat on a couch holding my 11 and 9 year old cousins, who were bawling because it was the closest family member they'd ever lost. And their mother just sat there saying, "Well, God is sovereign." I got so mad at her. Seriously? They're kids. They can't understand sovereignty.

The problem now is that I'm 22, a young lady, and I don't understand sovereignty. I don't believe that God is the "Giant Clockmaker", who wound the world up, and just lets it go to pot. But neither do I believe that God uses us as His little chess piece robots.

But is there a middle ground between the two? I know God sees everything happening in our world, but when does He step in and start fixing things?

I'm watching my church fall apart.

And, yeah, it's as simple as that. I have seen adults act like children. I have seen lifelong friendships bust into a million pieces. I have seen Godly leaders shrivel into power-hungry, usurpation-paranoid authority figures. I have seen leaders lie, and cover up (at best). I have seen longtime Christians ignore bad stewardship and irresponsibility.

Oh, not like moral failures, or abuse of any sort. But definitely unkindness. Cutting people down. Lying. Selfishness. Wastefulness. Showiness. Rudeness. Taking sides. Pretending. Ignoring. And all in the bubble of "God is blessing us and He wants this work to go forward".

Technically, it's been half this bad for years. But about 4 years ago, the tectonic plates started moving and stuff started cracking. And by crack I mean the Marianas Trench. I lost the only youth pastors I ever had. I lost my best friend and her family. And we were all on the same "side".

Everything has gone downhill from that year on. In the last month, downhill has turned into completely vertical. Frankly, it may be all over in a few weeks. I don't know. Part of me prays that some authority will come and mercifully shut us down.

But it hurts. It all hurts a lot, and I quit caring probably 2 years ago. But it was this church I quit caring about, not God Himself. I've talked to God several times about the whole thing. I know He can't be pleased with what's going on. I know God doesn't work this way. I think most of this behavior makes God facepalm. It's all so dumb. And I wanna know when He's gonna stop facepalming and start fixing.

Because while God is facepalming, we're all falling apart. I feel like I don't belong anywhere. My family members are currently attending 4 different churches. It's odd. The division has permanently ruined 25 year old best friendships. It's crumbled the youth's perception of church and Christianity. It's broken more than one heart. The pastors who took in my shunned, messed up family have pushed away more people than I ever thought possible. I've lost all I've understood of God's power and His Spirit.

So why has He let things get so bad? Why didn't He step in 4 years ago and knock some people's heads together? Why hasn't He convicted people so strongly that they stop picking on other people?

Actually, there's my answer: PEOPLE. Stupid, human, mixed-up, messed-up, stubborn people. 

You know what I've found out? People will believe anything in their heads. Some folks make God's will to be anything they want. And they don't care who or what they railroad in the process. What you do for God is only as good as how clear you listen to Him. For all I know, God has convicted people strongly, and God has knocked some heads together, but it did no good. Simply, there's only so much God can do. Oh, He is still certainly omnipotent, but God didn't create robots. He isn't going to override our master controls. Which is why I'm still even in the middle of this mess. I wanted so badly to leave 3-4 years ago. I was angry and mouthy and bitter. And God said, "Huh-unh, nope, you're not going anywhere until you change your attitude." If I leave something angry and mouthy and bitter, I'll always be angry and mouthy and bitter. So I stayed put, and tried to make the best of things. And then, through the church, He brought me someone that needed me. So I helped her all I could. And I've helped her nearly all I can, so I will be leaving soon. Then this new stuff started happening, and I know for sure I need to be leaving.

Unfortunately, I'm now leaving empty and dead and exhausted and lost. But remember, I still trust God, and I know that attending any particular church won't help that. It's supposed to just help facilitate that.

And as far as sovereignty is concerned, sure, God is sovereign.  What does that mean? Well, I still don't know for sure. But I think it means that God knows and sees everything. Everything includes me and my heart, so I'm taking refuge in that. While He can't control some people, He can put me back together. Why did all of this have to happen? The only thing my small mind can conceive is that I can learn from it. Plenty of lessons to be had here. And I will be stronger when this is passed. I don't feel strong yet, but I know I will.

{I know this is probably the most self-centric post I've written yet, so I apologize. But I had 2 5-hour car rides this week, and this was weighing on my mind. So I wrote it out.} 


  1. I'm writing you a long email. But here, I'd like to say that I have also been in the middle of angry, fractured churches. And they grieve me. But churches are full of sinners -- in fact, not a single person who goes to church isn't a sinner -- and when sinners take their eyes off Jesus and focus on themselves instead, this is what can happen. Only by God's grace and mercy does the whole idea of "church" work at all, ever.

    So. I'm so glad to hear that you and your family are trying to find another church home, and that you are not blaming God for problems caused by sinners. Where is he in all of this? Perhaps using this situation to teach people like you what is and isn't important about going to church. Teaching you to forbear, to forgive, to endure unpleasant situations. Above all, to turn to him for comfort, not to rely on yourself or other people. Those are my guesses, of course, not necessarily correct at all.

    You're always in my prayers!

    1. *nods steadily* I keep telling myself all that. It's just frustrating sometimes when you have to look all the stupidity in the face every, single week. I also know that it's making me forget the reason for church, because the only reason I go right now is to befriend this little friend of mine, and to hang with my old friends. Bad reasons, but I can't seem to pull away yet. Thank you. :) <3

    2. Well, being there for your friends is a good thing to do while at church too. After all, part of the reason we go to church is to encourage one another and build each other up :-)