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Monday, June 6, 2011

God Always Plans Ahead

There are days when life seems chaotic and random, and we wonder if God neglected to mention something to us that would cause everything to make sense again.  We struggle along through a trial that seems endless and ask God a million times a day, "Why is this happening?"

Then, the next day, something changes, and we are shocked with the revelation that the trials of yesterday, and all of those chance occurrences, were preparing us for today.  Sometimes years have to pass before we can look back and see this, but that day does come.

I've seen in my own brief life that this is true.  Sometimes the cutting words of today have prepared me to resist the shattering disappointments of tomorrow, as if I had been inoculated with Satan's cruelty so it was easier to rise above it later.  On the positive side, I've discovered that the chance decision to read a book or take a class has prepared me to understand and learn from a brief conversation five or ten years later.  In any case, I didn't know what would be useful for the days ahead, yet when those days arrived, I discovered that I had been equipped to handle it.  Isn't that a miracle worth celebrating?

Yesterday I heard news reports of a man who was cured of AIDs, by chance, by undergoing a bone marrow transplant from one of the rare 1% of Caucasians who are immune to HIV.  Interestingly enough,  this immunity is a mutation that may have been caused by exposure to the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages.  So this man, by chance it seems, was given a new lease on life, due to something that happened to someone else hundreds of years ago!  Well, I don't believe that such things can happen without Divine planning.

The Bible is full of this theme, yet we struggle to believe it in our own lives.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God predicted that Christ would come, born of a woman, and put an end to Satan's stronghold on human kind (Genesis 3: 15), even though this wouldn't come until many thousands of years had passed.  Later on, God saw to it to train a teenaged boy in the use of a slingshot and sent him on a lunch errand to a battlefield, where by seeming chance, he would start his career as future king.  Some of the events in the Bible were prophesied hundreds or thousands of years before they happened; some of the predictions, such as the restoration of Israel as a nation in 1948, are still happening today.  None of these things happened by accident, nor could the full outcome be predicted from the human perspective at the time prophecy was given.  These people did what God had put them there to do, at the appointed time, and history came together.

It turns out that life and all of human history is like a giant web, and God is the Weaver, bringing weak and strong threads together and making a sturdy and beautiful piece of cloth.  Nothing that happens has failed to be anticipated; whether people make one decision or another, God has seen it and prepared for both possibilities.  Isaiah the prophet wrote,
"Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been told you from the beginning?  Have you not understood since the earth was founded?  He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.  He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.  He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.  No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff." (Isaiah 40: 21-24 NIV 2011)

Jesus pointed out how closely God monitors the lives of every human being when He said, concerning prayer, "your Father knows what you need before you ask him," (Matthew 6: 8 NIV 2011).  In the case of those who believe in God, before the trouble came, an answer was already on its way!

Let me be clear:  I don't believe in fatalism.  I don't believe human beings are deprived of choices, or that some are born doomed and some are born to succeed, and I don't believe that Scripture reflects a fatalistic attitude toward life and history.  God doesn't take away our choices, but He does always work to further His plans, namely, that evil will be destroyed, and good will prevail, as the Bible says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," (Romans 8: 28 NIV 2011).  Those who resist God's plans for this world will fail, and this by their own choices.  This is true of the grand scheme of history, and of the commonplace events of every human life.  We read in Proverbs 19: 21 (NIV 2011), "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails"; from this we can conclude that those who wish for future success should let God do their planning, since He has already seen the future and set His plans in motion from the start.

I find comfort in knowing that what I didn't foresee was already known by God, and that He never sends me into a situation without preparing me first.  I pray that you, my readers, will find comfort in this as well.  For those of you in the midst of random hardships, I want to remind you that God has a plan for your life, which He has already put into place at the dawn of time, and which He will carry out to the end.  If you trust Him, He will bring you out of this, and you will someday see His hand in it all.

I leave you with these words, which I find especially comforting, because they remind me of how Scripture, and even Christ's coming, was planned from the beginning with each one of us in mind:
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1: 9-10 NIV 2011).


kamal said...

Thank you Rachel. Brilliantly put together.

Preetty said...

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.....Praise the Lord Rachel. Thanks for reaching out!

AJ said...

Keep up the good work, Rachel.