A while back Shannon and I attended a conference where John Piper said something to the effect of:
Sometimes I just stare at a glass of Diet Coke, at the fizz popping into the air. And I think about the fact that God is sovereignly in control of every bubble, which one goes up when and which one goes down. Sometimes I stare at a glass of Diet Coke and worship God.
Now, my first disclaimer is that this is not a direct quote. My memory isn’t that good and I didn’t take notes. So I’m paraphrasing the idea. My second disclaimer is that I realize that many Christians have a different understanding of God’s sovereignty than Piper. The point of this post is not to defend the intricacies of his view necessarily. So, we can all simma down.
Rather, I want to point out how the fact of God’s sovereignty has been a comfort over the last year. Many take a robust view of God’s sovereignty to be an intrusion, a bore, a sledgehammer, an offense. But to me, this year particularly, knowing that stuff happens and God lets it happen and did not stop it from happening and controls it before, during, and after it happens has been honey on the tongue and cold water of the back of the throat on an August afternoon.
In the space of about 15 months, our family has faced potential medical crises on three continents, moved across the ocean and then across the country, been temporarily relocated for medical reasons twice, been lied about, cursed at, misunderstood, and a host of other everyday problems.
Yet two words keep us focused. Two words give us perspective. Two words wrap us up in a blanket of comfort. Two words remind us of the fundamental Fact of the universe:
The God who controls every bubble in a glass of Diet Coke—deciding which bubble will dart left and which one will dive right and which one will cannonball right next to the ice cube—is the God who handed us these difficulties.
And He is also the God who hands us His mercy. Mercy to comfort us in affliction. He’s the God who hands us His grace. Grace to endure. Grace to worship. He’s the God who entered into our suffering and suffered in our place.
It’s amazing the effect two words can have. I’m stressing out and Shannon will look over with that calm look in her eye and gently remind me, “every bubble, babe.” Shannon is texting me, worried about something with the kids’ health. It’s not the only thing I write, but at some point, I type these two words: every bubble. With those two words, calm comes. But these aren’t magic words. It is not an incantation. Rather, these two words point to something deeper, something truer than our circumstances.
We both know what it means. And we know what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean a cold lecture on the sovereignty of God. Nor, does it mean sentimental platitudes, such that you’d find written in pastel colors on a Hallmark card.
It means God is really in control of everything—including this present thing—that He is good, and He is to be trusted. No matter what.
I should also point out that God’s sovereignty is not only severe, which it can be, but is also joyful. I mentioned a host of difficulties that we’ve faced recently. But gratitude and honesty demand that I account for more than just the hardships. In His sovereign kindness God has given us many more joys than heartaches. We’ve welcomed a sweet baby girl into the world. Each medical crisis has been resolved. The great majority of folks we have met in Turkey and in our new city have been incredibly kind, helpful, and hospitable. We’ve made new friends. Half the year we get to see the sunset each evening over the Black Sea from our living room—blazing oranges, blood reds, and joyous yellows.
We have much to be thankful for and we have Someone to be thankful to: the God of every bubble.