“Some thoughts on the frequent impossibility of initially (or ever) reconciling our observations of God’s purpose and wisdom with the inconsistency of our life, faults, sins, righteousness and/or agendas.”
We want to think of a God who acts and accomplishes good “in spite of” man’s sin in His predictably safe role of “Heavenly Responder” to our calamities. (And He does this in some respects.) God fixes our mess-ups. In a sense what we really desire is a God who MUST ALWAYS act in a certain prescribed manner for then He is controlled, and we find comfort in the known. However scripture reveals an expanded view of God, a LARGER GOD who incorporates personal sins, failures and simple faults as a first cause in the advancement of His purpose and kingdom. The boundaries of God’s wisdom, ways and power always exceeds our greatest imagination and certainly our loftiest understanding. God has woven His plan eternally beforehand by decree as He acts “because of” His purpose and glory through normative human events including our sin, and not “in spite of” our deviation from or dereliction of revealed will. His secret will abides perpetually perfect; “it belongs to God.” Things revealed we own in imperfect experience which validates His perfection. Did God decree my sin? Or is it somewhere comfortably tucked away into that mysterious catch-all box labeled “The Permissive Will of God”?
Oh, BTW. This is not your meal ticket to sin uncontrollably and indiscriminately. “Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires,” not to embrace them as we are instructed to live par excellence to Another’s glory.
A simple reading of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah in Matthew 1 indicates that this principle of God’s purpose in frail men and women is true. The “all things after the counsel of His will” really means “all things” without exception. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, Ruth, David, Bathsheba, Solomon, et.al. are all prominently listed and known for occasional terrible life choices. They also displayed remarkable repentance. You would think the Genealogy of Jesus would read like a “Who’s Who in the Faith” It doesn’t, and yet it does. And God embraces them (and such as these) as those people of faith of whom the world is not worthy. God uses the common and ordinary vessels of clay and bestows them with honor and favor.
And I look in the mirror and bless God for sufficient grace to embrace my past and present frailty and failings as I look future and say, “He is able.”
And then yesterday in God’s unpredictable and initially most uncomfortable providence I attended the glorious birth of a terribly deformed baby with a condition incompatible with life, of which mom and dad were aware from the early stages of the pregnancy. They chose life and full-term delivery. Others would have likely made a bee-line toward the abortion option as an escape route. As an added bonus this mom weekly had to undergo terrible punctures with a ginormous needle to relieve excessive amniotic fluid buildup. And she still smiled. I was both fascinated and moved deeply as they loved the child before and after birth for those few moments she lived; and God was glorified and His purpose has begun to be satisfied. Was it their sin or the baby’s sin that ordered these events? No, it was for the glory of God in the first cause. That is what Jesus said and that is where I live, and that is what I will share all the days of my life.
I still learn and really must try harder to minimize giving commentary and complaint on what God is up to when I witness or experience an interruption or implosion or explosion, or just normal life. It is often best to refrain from giving advice on what God is up to in the trendy aspects of life. I rather should focus on growing in grace and faith by training my ears and eyes to hear and see as God says, “Hey you guys, watch this…” I should encourage others to see the smiling face behind Life’s frequent frowning providences. It’s God’s way, thus it is God’s wisdom. “Hey guys, watch GOD in this as He brings glory to His name.” I recently learned this and daily need reminders. I am thankful He is patient with the stiff-necked… so very thankful.
“He has done all things well.”
“He makes all things new.”
Thanks again to George Dobbs for another beautiful picture. Follow him on Facebook if you desire to see more.