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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Grand Scheme of Things

God's Plan is Always Coming into View Around the Bend
I've been writing a lot lately about the "grand scheme of things," that is, what is going on behind the day to day scenes we call life.  Every day is full of its own challenges, although some are much easier than others.  Sometimes it can be hard to see God's hand in everything, and I mean these posts to encourage those who are struggling to see that.

I've been reading 1 Peter these past two days, and the theme of that book has really stood out this time around.  Today I'm focusing on 1 Peter chapter 1.

Peter is talking about the grand scheme of things, and how present trials fit in to history.  He isn't minimizing pain; rather, he is putting it into a proper perspective.

Solomon concluded in Ecclesiastes that the only meaningful thing worth doing is spending life serving the Lord.  Peter takes it a logical step farther.  God and His plans and purposes are the only thing that gives history meaning and significance.  We aren't just talking about each individual life now; the whole scheme of life on planet earth, from the least important person to the greatest, is shaped by the Lord into something with a purpose!

If this task had been left to man, we would have failed long ago, likely out of disunity and war.  It is a comfort to know that God is making something out of our problems, even at times when we can't see a point to them all.

What is this unfolding purpose of history?  According to Peter, the whole point is to perfect (make complete) our faith, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls (1 Peter 1: 7,9).  Present-day trials are worth something in our individual lives, but they also tie in with this sweeping campaign for restored communion with humankind that spans history from Adam and Eve's fall to the present day, and continuing into the future.  The prophecy of the prophets, the suffering of the early church, and the individual ministry of each of our lives is all coming together as we move into the final parts of this redemption story.

At the end of all things, what God has started will be made complete, that is, holy and flawless, in each of or individual lives and in the whole scheme of things.  The project will be done, and the grace that has been given to us will bear eternal fruit (see 1 Peter 1: 13, 23-25).

We can find comfort in these two things: (1) God's hand in history is already visible, so we know that from the beginning of history, God thought of us and planned for us today (1 Peter 1: 18-20); (2) God is giving our lives purpose within His plan when we submit ourselves to Him and let Him speak through us (see 1 Peter 1: 22-25).

Something to think about this week.  Until next time, this is my reminder to stay savvy and hold on for that bright future the Lord is building!