We live in precarious days. The nuclearization of third world powers and rogue states increasingly imperils world peace. The antithetical posture of influential Super Powers such as China, Russia, and the EU has marginalized the United States and left us economically vulnerable and strategically weakened in our security. Across the Middle East the shifting sands of geopolitics threaten to destabilize our way of life. The failure of our government to live within its means has shaken our financial institutions, diminished our prosperity and endangers the future of our children.
To be sure these are difficult and uncertain days in which to live. The temptation is to allow ourselves to be overcome by anxiety, recoil in fear and subsist until we get to heaven. For the Christian, however, this need not be the response to the uncertainty of our time. The promises of God liberate us from the fear and anxiety of the present age and allow us to live a life of God-ward confidence and joyful expectancy. Permit me to share three biblical promises that enable us to live supra-naturally (above the natural) and embolden us to exist confidently, joyfully, and fruitfully in our present sojourn.
1. God absolutely directs the stage of world history – From the events that play out on the rostrum of geopolitics to the experiences of our everyday lives, the Lord controls it all. Let your heart rest in God’s sovereign rule. – Selah!
King David was a man who experienced the “uncertainties” of life on a personal and international level. He knew what it was to experience want, exposure, betrayal, political upheaval. He was a man who unjustly lived on the run, pursued by the shadow of death, a man whose life was sought by powerful political enemies, and a man who was familiar with the specter of war as well as war itself. David was also a man who bore the responsibility of an entire nation on his shoulders. This same David wrote, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).
David perceived the spiritual reality of the invisible hand of God guiding and directing all the events in his life, kingdom, and world. Likewise, we must remember that the seemingly random, unfair, disconcerting developments and paroxysms of this life and world are orchestrated by our all-powerful, sovereign God.
Some six centuries after King David lived, King Nebuchadnezzar came to the same conclusion expressed in Psalm 103:19. After his great humiliation at the hand of God, Nebuchadnezzar – the most powerful man in the world at the time – eagerly and joyfully acknowledged the heavenly rule of God over his life and the affairs of men. Daniel records the King’s words “But at the end of that period (after Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation), I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ At that time my reason returned to me” (Daniel 4:34, 35).
My dear friends, God has not abdicated His throne. He rules with absolute power and purpose. When we see the earth, or our own personal world, apparently spinning out of control around us this absolute truth ought to bring a measure of sanity to our anxious hearts.
2. God causes absolute good to spring from the evil of men – The natural question that arises out of that first point is, “If God is sovereign then why does He allow evil (sin) to exist?” The short answer to this question is that God glorifies Himself through man’s rebellion and brings about absolute good from evil. The great patriarch Joseph rose from a slave to become prime minister of Egypt. When Joseph revealed his identity and position to his brothers (who had sold Joseph into slavery) he reminded them of the good God had brought from the evil they had committed, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (including the humbling, redemption, and preservation of the lives of those who had committed the great injustice against righteous Joseph!) (Genesis 50:20).
It is in response to the sin of this world that God exercises the goodness of His compassion, mercy, and grace. The glory of these divine attributes could not be fully exercised and seen without the dark backdrop of man’s evil. Indeed, nowhere is the supreme goodness of God more clearly displayed than in the most evil deed ever perpetrated by man, the murder of Jesus Christ.
At Calvary mankind was guilty of the murder of the Son of God, the image of the holy, invisible God incarnate. Man’s rebellion and utter depravity bottomed out in this one heinous act of treason, and yet that gutter-point of sin was the zenith of the Lord’s predetermined plan to rescue man from his unfathomable corruption, including the butchery of His holy Son (Acts 2:23, 24, Romans 8:32). God turned the greatest evil ever committed into the greatest good history will ever know.
With Paul we cry out, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways” (Romans 11:33)! We are reminded by the familiar words of Romans 8:28, “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” “All” means “all.” Yes, the evil we see abounding in the world, and even the evil perpetrated against Christians, “all” of it will ultimately resound to the glory of God and for our good. The next time you notice evil running rampant in this world, remember and take heart, God will bring good from it. Trust Him!
3. God has written the end of the story … and He wins! – To that statement we may boldly add “and we win with Him!” We can live life supra-naturally because we know God is inexorably bringing history to victory in Jesus Christ. Don’t take my word for it, you may read the end of the story for yourself.
God wrote the final, eternal chapter of history through the pen of the apostle John, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true” (Revelation 21:2-5).
My friends since these things are true, let us live confidently, trusting in the Lord as we negotiate the ebb and flow of uncertain times, wholly investing ourselves in God’s triumphant work. Thank you for your ongoing labor in Christ and your faithful partnership with us for His glory (1 Corinthians 15:57, 58).