Many people have pondered it. Theologians have examined it, dissected it, and debated it. We all have to come to a personal conclusion about it. The first major hurdle in spirituality as a whole is believing in God’s existence. Yes, you have to believe that He’s there and in the atonement for our sins through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. So fundamental. But I believe the most important spiritual issue we face in this life after that elementary step is understanding God’s sovereignty. How we view God’s sovereignty will affect how we interpret everything that happens in our life good or seemingly bad.
God has many attributes. I have studied these extensively in my recent Biblical counseling experience. If you’re looking for an extensive list go here. Delving into God’s sovereignty takes a lot of heart and mind energy. For some it becomes a full-blown existential crisis while others float through much of their life without giving it much thought. That is until tragedy strikes which it inevitably will in everyone’s life either directly or indirectly. I dare say most people deal with tragedy very directly at some point in their lives even if it’s only when they face their own physical mortality. But let’s be real, most of us deal with tragedy or loss several times throughout our lifetime.
Why was I singled out for barrenness?
Why did my husband abandon me?
Those have been the biggies in my life so far. I’ll admit the former question caused me to get stuck in the mire for many years. The latter, while nearly soul crushing, was used as an unlikely springboard for a journey out of the mire.
Does everything happen for a reason? Yes, but maybe not in the way we normally postulate to arrive at the question.
You see, God gives us a free will. Because of that free will we make decisions and our decisions set in motion a set of consequences. God has spiritual laws much like He has laws for nature. The law of gravity for instance is a natural law. If anyone goes and jumps off a building they are going to hit the ground. No exceptions. Same goes for God’s spiritual laws. If we make decisions that stay within God’s laws then God will honor that obedience. If we make decisions that go against God’s spiritual laws then there will be consequences. No exceptions. The Ten Commandments were the first spiritual laws conveyed to humans, so if you want to stay within God’s spiritual laws and not jump off any proverbial spiritual buildings and go “splat” stay within those laws. There is even more elaboration throughout the Word, but the Ten Commandments are pretty much common-sense spiritual laws everyone needs to follow in this life to stay in line with God’s spiritual law.
So am I barren because of my sin? Is it a curse?
Well, let’s…hypothetically…say I had an abortion when I was young. The abortion caused scar tissue in my womb that later prevented an embryo from attaching to my uterine wall thus rendering me barren. Then, yes, I would be barren because of my sin. This has happened to many women post abortion.
But in my case I am barren because of a hormonal issue that caused my follicles (eggs) not to develop or release properly. Is that the result of my sin? No.
In either case am I cursed? No.
Now, if you read the Old Testament you will find examples of where God cursed people with barrenness; however, when Jesus died on the cross and rose to atone for our sins he made a new covenant with us that pretty much did away with the old “curse” system. Now, that’s a long discussion itself, Old versus New Covenant, and I won’t go into that much detail here, but to summarize, thank God I live in the age of the New Covenant! I don’t have to sacrifice animals yearly to atone for sin, and because Jesus’ blood covered it all! God
I think I wasted many years wondering if there was some kind of sin I hadn’t confessed that was causing me to be barren. I really don’t believe that’s the case, because I have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and atonement for my sins. Even if I had had an abortion which caused scarring, or made a bad decision that lead to an accident that rendered me barren it’s not a curse. It’s a natural consequence of God’s natural laws. In the end, I believe it all comes down to God’s sovereignty.
In regards to consequences…not only is God sovereign he is also omniscient (knowing all of the past and the future). He knows at times we’re going to make good decisions and at times we’re going to make bad decisions. Is he waiting up there with a Holy Hammer waiting to bonk us on the head like a game of Whack-a-Mole? No, He uses the (just) consequences of our sin to try and move us towards Him, but He will not override our free will. He even uses our free will in His sovereign design. So many Bible stories illustrate that. Joseph’s brothers when they sold him into slavery. Pharoah’s hard heart that wouldn’t let the Israelites freely leave Egypt. David when he slept with Bathsheba…and many more. All these bad decisions were used to advance God’s kingdom and His people. Did those decisions have some heavy and adverse consequences for those making them? Yes, but in the end God’s will prevailed!
Now, if someone lives in outright rebellion to God and resists even the consequential urgings of God to get on the right track God won’t overrule that. He will continue to act justly in that situation, but at some point that person’s heart gets so hardened they can’t or won’t turn from their sin, or their time runs out, and the window for repentance is closed…forever.
Sometimes people make decisions that affect us greatly. When we are abandoned by a friend, a family member, or a spouse the fall-out can be huge. Yet, God still works these situations for our good. Over time we can see how God used a situation caused by someone else to lovingly show us that He loves us enough to remove us from a bad situation or a toxic relationship that was going to harm us (or continue to harm us) in some way if it continued.
I said a lot, but really, this is just a very small encapsulation of what I’ve come to understand about God’s sovereignty. God ultimately wants everyone to come to Him and to follow His plan for a Godly life. He knows we are fallen humans, so he lovingly…even firmly…at times tries to get us on the right path through consequences. Sometimes he allows us to go through things (think Job) to further solidify our trust in Him. If we are surrendered to Him and following Him even the bad things that come to us out of our direct control are used to advance His perfect will for our lives. He even uses our mistakes for our good. This realization has brought me to a greater peace in my life, and I’m thankful I’ve taken the time to study and reflect on the attributes of God, especially His sovereignty. He is completely trustworthy!