Originally posted at The Fight of Faith Blog
There is something about me that always wants to be in control. If I am sick, I want to outlearn the disease and overcome it. If relationships start to fail, I want to be able to charm them back to life. We all want to be in control. I think this is why there are so many diets promising snake oil results: don’t eat gluten, eat kale, only eat raw foods. I don’t say this as a judgment on eating right; it is a wise thing to do, but how much of it stems from the desire to be in charge. If there is something I can do, then it is something I can control. I am the master of my destiny. This desire to be in control has even found its way into Christian circles. “If you can muster enough faith, it will all go right. Positive thoughts create positive results.” The problem is, it is not true. We could do all of this, and it could still fall apart. We are not in control.
The storm around me reminds me of this. I realize, with every peal of thunder, that I am not the center of the universe. Regarding orchestrating the master plan for creation, I am no more special than the other 7 billion people on the planet. We all tend to live as if we are, but it is a delusion. You and I both could come into contact with something in this fallen world that could end our lives within a month, and there could be nothing we could do about it.
Once we are gone, our co-workers would remember us and then replace us. Sure, they may even put up a picture for a few years to commemorate our contribution, but they would be able to continue without us. Our demise would most likely hit our family the hardest, but our children would move on with their lives just like we would want them to. Even the one we love, if the Lord wills, would find someone else to love and with whom to share the rest of their life.
I don’t like to think about these things, but it is good. It reminds me that the world is not yet the way it should be, so I should not put my trust and hope in it. There is something eternal that deserves my devotion and attention. Something else should be my source of hope.
Though the storm swells around me, I have found salvation in the cleft of the rock: Christ Jesus. All the sins that caused me to be fearful of God have been forgiven. The great and righteous judge of the universe has reconciled me to Himself through the cross. Yes, I, a sinner, am a friend of God. In fact, He calls me His child.
One of the problems is that we often interpret being a child of God to mean, that we are now co-sovereigns with Him, but that is not the case. When the omnipotent God makes us His child, He does not stop being God. He does not hand us the reigns of the universe. Instead, He continues right on with His plan, and we should be glad.
What tends to bother us, is that He still keeps much of his plan hidden. The hidden things belong to the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29). His judgments and ways are past finding out, and none of us have been his counselor (Romans 11:34). He has not told us everything He is doing. He is operating in a fallen world in many ways that are unseen and unknown to us, but He has given us some revelation. One of the things revealed is that he will return and set all things right. We sometimes complain that He has not done it yet, but it is His patience that makes him tarry. If it were not for His patience, none of us would be saved. The day He returns in glory will be a day of great trembling and delight for His child, but it will be a day of terror for those who do not know Him. Though we should desire His return, it is not something we should rush.
Our salvation involves so much more than what we have already experienced. Though we have nothing without it, salvation is more than justification. Redemption is much more than what happen to us as individuals. Though we are to strive to give people a glimpse of glory in this life, it is only a dim reflection. We cannot place all our hope in what we are experiencing now. He has given the Holy Spirit, and we know this is a guarantee of what is to come, but what we are experiencing now, is not the consummation of our salvation.
Everything could fall apart. The darkest things imaginable could happen, except one: that He would fail to complete our salvation. We will see Jesus face to face in all of His glory. One day all believers will inhabit a place without sickness, without tears, and without death. A place where it can no longer come undone, but this is not it.
If we think that everything must fall into place now for our salvation to be real and our faith to be true, we have a short-sighted view of both salvation and faith, and our God is too small. True faith will trust God even if He does not do what we want Him to do right now. What He is doing is bigger and better than what we could ever imagine, even if we don’t fully understand it. One day the hidden things will be revealed, and we will stand in awestruck wonder at the wisdom of His plan. No matter how dark and painful it gets, the believer wins in the end, because we will stand in the presence of Jesus. It could all fall apart, and that’s ok.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10