Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Room 314: God's Ownership

When we lost our son Micah, Heather and I struggled with the very same question that we know is asked by so many fellow grieving parents--how can God take away "our" child? How could God dare to take him or her away from us, the child's very parents? Though not without a fight, God has shown us that, while we can not and should not end our grief over our son, we did not actually possess ownership rights over our son's life. While we can and should go to God with our grief and our questions, we cannot claim ownership over our child. Our son's life is actually owned by Jesus, the creator and sustainer of all. In the book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes about Christ's claim to everything in all creation, including our very lives. "For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16). My experience in Room 314 of the hospital has reinforced what I learned following the sudden death of my son--that as much effort as I put into my career, raising a family, pushing myself to career success or athletic achievement--I really don't possess any of it. Since God created each of us, and sustains every aspect of who we are, we cannot claim ownership over any of it. The day before I entered the hospital, I ran 9 miles on the treadmill at a fairly good pace. I took some pride in my long-distance running ability. But in the course of 22 days in the hospital, 8 days of which were without any food, the shape of my body has completely changed. In the course of this short time, God chose not to sustain that physical ability. While I am grateful that the Lord "held together" my body through some difficult medical concerns, he has chosen to not sustain ("hold together") the physical running ability that I had before entering the hospital. Similarly, I work very diligently to manage relationships within my law practice, keeping a very full schedule of meetings. But given my time away from work, I have had to delegate the responsibilities of work to others. While I am grateful for my colleagues and my clients, my experience has shown me that I clearly don't "own" my law practice. I cannot control my schedule, my relationships. I cannot "hold it all together" in my own efforts--but Jesus clearly can, if He so desires. Just as God sustains my physical body, God sustains even our professional and financial relationships. He owns it all. Through this experience, I have been blessed with the lesson that as much as I strive to succeed in my "own" efforts, God is the sustainer of these efforts, and He will sustain what He will. As we struggle with grief or other suffering, we must recognize the limitations of our own striving, and look to Jesus as the owner of every aspect of our lives.

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