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Stronger Than Duct Tape
If your circumstances are holding together with nothing more than duct tape, don't fear. Remember to put your trust in God who is ultimately in control.

I was in surgery for my legs, and I started to have some concerns when I saw the duct tape on the arm rests of the operating table. It looked like the duct tape was holding the arm rests together.

We have good news and bad news. The good news is that you made it. The bad news is …

Then the guy who "knocks you out" came in. The reason I'm saying "the guy who knocks you out" instead of "the anaesthetist," is because, that's what he kept saying to the nurse: "Just wait until we knock him out." The reason he was saying this was because the machine he listened to, to see if I would ever wake up again, wasn't working.

I felt like I was in a soap opera. The nurse said, "Doctor, it's not working." The doctor responded, "Just jiggle the wire; it will work. If not, wait until I knock him out. Then I'll fix it." She jiggled the wire. The machine made a valiant attempt at life three times but failed. "But Doctor, it's not working," the nurse repeated. All the doctor would say was: "Just wait until I knock him out, then I'll fix it."

Frankly, I wanted him to fix it right then! If I didn't believe in the sovereignty of God—that God was in control—I would have told the doctor to get two repairmen and call me in the morning.

It didn't stop there. After the surgery, they kept wanting to knock me out. Each time I woke up, they would say, "You must be in pain." I would think for a minute and say, "Not really, should I be?" But before I could look at my legs, they would add, "Let's give you some medication," and they would knock me out. I began to wonder, as I was going under, what they were hiding from me. I didn't see the doctor anywhere. When I woke up again, I was waiting for them to say, We have good news and bad news. The good news is that you made it. The bad news is that your legs didn't. So I checked. They were still there—but with the medication, the bandages looked to me like duct tape.

Life is filled with much that is painful. None of us is immune. At some point in all of our lives we will have to face some trouble or trial. We will be faced with some suffering or sorrow. Jesus said, "In this life you will have tribulation." He didn't say, You may have it, or You might have it. He said, "You will have it." Yet, He goes on to remind us to be of good courage. He says this because He has overcome the world. He assures us that because of Him, we will also.

When we hold onto the fact that God is sovereign—that God is in control—we are able to face the future without fear.

There is much that could cause us to give in to doubt, give over to fear, or give up our faith. Yet, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). God is in control. He is Sovereign. God has a plan, and His divine purpose cannot be stopped.

When we hold onto the fact that God is sovereign—that God is in control—we are able to face the future without fear. You will remember how Joseph had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He didn't know what the future would hold for him. He didn't know if he would live or die. Yet, he knew Who held the future. He knew Who was the Author of life and death. It was God. He knew that God had His plan. Knowing this gave Joseph the ability to stay true to himself, and to God. In the end, he declared God's sovereignty to his brothers: "You thought it for evil, but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20).

God uses all things—both good and evil—to bring about His will. Yet, in saying this we affirm that God is not the author of evil. Romans 8:28-30 states, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; who He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."

There it is. God's sovereignty assured, secured and declared. God is in control. God has promised that His plan will be fulfilled. And it will be in your life as well. It has been foreknown to Him, and will be fulfilled through Him. God brings this about by His will and in His own way. Even though we may not understand all that He is doing (see Isaiah 55:8) we know all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.

When we are able to grasp this, fear is replaced with faith. We are bound together with Him, by His divine loving purpose; which is stronger then life or death, and even duct tape.

Rev. John Niles is minister at Victoria Park United Church, Toronto, Ontario.

Originally published in the Fellowship Magazine, April 1996.




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