Monday, November 3, 2008

Wrapped Up In Two Feet of Bark

This weekend's sermon was on electing a President. No candidate was endorsed, but we were given much to think about. One statistic really struck me - only 50% of Americans bother to vote. Here in PA they're predicting a record-setting 75% voter turnout and warning us to be ready to stand in line. They're even reruiting extra volunteers to cheer us on so we don't get impatient and leave before we vote.

I'm reading Overcoming Overload, by Steve & Mary Farrar. Last night I read Chapter Seven, "Two Feet of Bark". The author is referring to the two feet of bark that the giant redwoods are covered in. These 3,200 year old trees, (they were here when Christ walked the earth!) have been able to withstand numerous fires because of the two feet of bark. A tree 3,200 years old has likely been through 100 - 120 fires. We humans need that 'two feet of bark' and it lies within the Sovereignty of God.

I'm going to quote because it's just too wonderful, the day before the election, for anyone to miss: "So what is the Sovereignty of God? What does it mean? It is the central truth that will provide you with peace and rest in an overloaded world... Sovereignty means God is King. Nothing happens by chance." The author went on to tell the story of Lisa Beamer, whose husband, Todd died September 11 when Flight 93 went down. "The sovereignty of God is her two feet of bark."

Here's what Lisa had to say about her loss: "Who am I to question God and to say that I have a better plan than He does? I don't have the same wisdom and knowledge that He has, or the understanding of the big picture. I think I deserve a happy life and get angry when it doesn't always happen like that. In fact, I am a sinner and deserve only death. The fact that God has offered me a hope for eternal life is amazing! I should be overwhelmed with joy and gratitude... Who am I to question Him? I asked myself, realizing, perhaps for the first time, how awe-inspiring God really is. It was then that I made a conscious decision to stop questioning God and start trusting him."

If Lisa Beamer can be confident that God's ways are best, after leaving her a widow, with two small children and another on the way, can we not trust him through an election? Even if the candidate we voted for does not win?

The author says, (and I believe he's borrowing the quote) "what we believe about God is the most important thing about us." Apparently a large percentage of Christians today don't believe in the sovereignty of God. "The King of the universe is in absolute control, this King is pure and good, and can do no wrong or evil. His character can be trusted even when circumstances do not make sense to our finite minds. (To those who believe) The sovereignty of God is our two feet of bark."

Nebuchadnezzar had this to say (after spending years out in the field eating grass, for being prideful and taking credit for his success, I might add), "His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" (Daniel 4:34-35)

The verse that Lisa Beamer clings to, (and that her husband Todd had read the morning of September 11, 2001 from his scripture memory card) is this:

"Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knoweldge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

Two feet of bark - it's protected the giant redwoods for 3,200 years. I'm wrapping myself in it and voting my one vote, completely confident God is on his throne. No one will thwart his will. Lisa Beamer rests in it. I'm going to trust God, and rest inside that 'two feet of bark' only He can cover me in. It'll protect me during this election, while the stock market is going crazy, it'll cover me as I suffer the inevitable losses and heartaches this life is going to bring. Life 101 - with a thick covering of bark.


Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

Very well said, Bev, as usual.
" apples of gold in settings of silver..."

Robin said...

Thanks Bev, for sharing that today. I needed to hear that reminder - for the election and for another difficult situation in my life.

fortyb4forty said...

Thank you for sharing this, I really needed it today. I am too quick to forget God's sovereignty.

elizabeth said...

And the people say Amen...

I will admit that I was starting to get very nervous and scared over the economy and the election. I cannot remember the exact verse I read and need to go find it, but during daily Bible time it just fell in my life and I know without a doubt that regardless of what happens it will be ok. Our God is an awesome God and has a plan, whether or not we understand and trust is a different thing altogether.

Heidi @ GGIP said...

Great post.

I am SO interested in what voting will be like for people. I just wrote a post about it and set up a Mr. Linky in case anyone wants to tell me.

I am from PA too and I am trying to figure out the best time to lug my two kids out to vote!

Susanne said...

I read Lisa's book and her faith and trust in the sovereignity of God are an inspiration.

Gretchen said...

I don't want to add anything to this.



Renna said...

An excellent post, Bev, and very well timed!

The two feet of bark thing is fascinating, isn't it? Yep, God is our two feet of bark. How reassuring that is! :-)

Kelly said...

It is always reassuring that no matter how hard my feeble
mind / will tries to be in charge, God always has me covered. Love this illustration.

Wanda said...

Oh so well said.


He IS sovereign!


Jill said...

Thanks for this wonderful reminder. God is in control and His ways are much bigger and better than any of mine.
I pray that tonight as I watch the results I can feel God's almighty presence in my heart and in our country no matter who wins.
May it be so!

Dawn said...


Amanda said...

Wow. This is a great post!