There are No Accidents

The other day I met a beautiful, sweet lady suffering from dystonia, a painful disorder of the nerves that causes distortion and excruciating spasms throughout her body.  As I helplessly watched her body bent over in pain, I tried to soothe the cramp that seized her arm while praying that the Lord would bring relief. Why would a terrible condition contort the lovely body of a godly woman who loves the Lord?

Lauren Olivia was a bouncing 8lb baby born with no suspicious signs of her condition.  At 4 months, her growth drastically came to a near halt and after 8 months of x-rays, geneticists and DNA tests, we found that our daughter was a dwarf.  “It could be worse” was what I kept getting told.  While I truly was grateful it wasn’t worse, it was bad enough for this young mother and it’s going to be bad enough for my little girl. Did God make a mistake?  What did I do to deserve this for my life?

My pastor’s brother was motorcycling the other day in the mountains and had a horrible accident.  He was airlifted to Charleston sustaining a broken femur, broken ribs, collapsed lung and broken back.  Why didn’t God protect him and just give him a close call instead of a tragic collision?

If God was a bystander, allowing evil to wreak havoc and stepping in to clean up the mess (as I previously believed He did), I think little would comfort me even when it ‘works out for good’.  Deep inside, I would question His wisdom, question His power, question my guilt, question what other random, undesirable event would shake my world and turn it upside down.

My pastor’s brother had an amazing prayer request that brought tears to my eyes.  He didn’t ask that God would heal him, he asked that God would use this to change him, teach him and draw him closer to his Savior.  My chest aches as I consider this.  What a precious understanding of God’s Sovereignty.

Contemplating the Sovereignty of God is an amazing exercise.  It makes you realize that you are safe in the eternal purposes of our Creator God.  There is meaning to events in your life, there is reason in tragedies and trials, there is a goal to our daily struggles and ‘accidents’.  As John Piper explains, God is not the doctor in the trauma unit patching up the wounds inflicted by life and the enemy.  God is the Physician holding the scalpel, carefully determining the intentional cuts and sutures so that He can heal and transform.  Some might think that’s an awful picture of a frightening God but honestly, the sideline God scares me even more.  The Bible speaks of an all-powerful, ever-purposeful, wise and intimately loving God who cares for me.  If He planned from eternity past to inflict His only Begotten Son for my sake, wouldn’t He lovingly be involved in every single aspect of my life – a life purchased by the blood of His Son?

Elizabeth Elliot recalls a lady she met who was born with no legs.  This lady wrote a letter to comfort the new parents of a limbless baby: 

The first thing I would say is that all that this entails is at least one hundred times harder on the parents than the child.  A birth defect by God’s grace does not rob childhood of its wonder, nor is a child burdened by high expectations.  Given a supportive, creative, and loving family, I know personally that I enjoyed not a less-than-average life nor an average life, but as I’ve told many, my life has been not ordinary but extraordinary.

I am convinced without a doubt that a loving Heavenly Father oversees the creative miracles in the inner sanctum of each mother’s womb (Ps. 139), and that in His sovereignty there are no accidents…

As humanity we see only the imperfect, underside of God’s tapestry of our lives.  What we judge to be ‘tragic-the most dreaded thing that could happen,’ I expect we’ll one day see as the awesome reason for the beauty and uniqueness of our life and our family.  I think that’s why James 1:2 is a favorite verse of mine.  ‘When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders but welcome them as friends.’ 

“People with disabilities are God’s best visual aids to demonstrate who He really is.  His power shows up best in weakness.  And who by the world’s standards is weaker than the mentally or physically disabled?  As the world watches, these people persevere.  They live, love, trust and obey Him.  Eventually the world is forced to say, “How great their God must be to inspire this kind of loyalty.”

“You as a family have been chosen in a special way to display His unique Masterwork.  I pray that your roots of faith will grow deep down into the faithfulness of God’s Loving Plan, that you will exchange your inadequacy for the Adequacy of Jesus’ resurrection power, and that you will be awed as you witness the fruits of the Spirit manifested in your family.”


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nchomeschoolmom
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 12:47:30

    Great post, Jules. I’m learning this now as well.



  2. Annemarie
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 06:53:11

    “Some might think that’s an awful picture of a frightening God but honestly, the sideline God scares me even more.”

    Amen. Amen!

    I am choked up and holding back tears. This is *so* true. As I have grown older and looked more deeply into theology and doctrine, I find that Calvinism & the doctrine of the sovereignty of God to be one of the most comforting teachings in the Bible. It has radically changed my understanding of Him and deepened my love for Him.



  3. JenIG
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 09:07:49

    beautifully put. i love this


  4. Jen
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 09:08:39

    Agreeing with Annemarie’s comments, as well as yours about the idea of a “sideline God”. I’m seeing more and more that the more intense the suffering is, the more I cling to God’s sovereignty, and the more real His love, goodness, and grace become, even as I realize more and more that He is “not a safe God”.

    Would it be okay for me to link to your blog in an upcoming blog post? I want to link to the “Adversity” article by Terry Johnson as well. Your blog has really encouraged me this week!


  5. julesnpebbles
    Jul 23, 2008 @ 15:15:37

    Jenbh, of course you can link – the Adversity one is from someone else’s as well! All of you, thank you for your encouragement! It’s so wonderful to know that there are others in awe of God’s sovereignty even in terrible circumstances.


  6. Kelli
    Jul 25, 2008 @ 00:28:28

    Wow, great thing I stumbled on this when I did. (Like you said there are no accidents) A young lady I know is living in a terrible situation, and there is not much I can do to help. she was taken away from her home by child Protective Services, then returned, even though the situation has not changed. I am very close to her, and it breaks my heart to see her suffer. I am hoping to help her see God is there, even when her whole world is falling apart at the seams.


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