It is amazing what you can see when you look at something from an elevated position. I remember reading an account of jungle explorers that would climb a tree to get perspective on their location above the forest canopy. The same is true in our lives. The reality is that we often are limited to only seeing the trees!
My studies this week for our new sermon series beginning this Sunday had me researching God’s plan for the church and his people. What stood out to me is that what happens in our lives is all part of the Lord’s plan. What is incredible is that the Lord mapped it all about before the creation of the world. We read in Ephesians, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love”(Ephesians 1:4) This particular passage reminds us of God’s plan that he established before the foundation of the world. Now some might notice that this verse is speaking of God’s choice of those that would be adopted into His family. The Old Testament also reminds us that God’s plan was even in greater detail. Speaking of the destructions of a city, ““ ‘Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins,” (Isaiah 37:26) He even is credited with determining the roll of the dice. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)
These Biblical truths should be an encouragement to the follower of Jesus for many reasons. One is that God is in control. He is not caught off guard by anything that happens in our world or your life. This truth along with all that God has revealed about Himself in the Bible should encourage us to trust Him. “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isaiah 46:10) History is moving along the tracks of God’s Will. This should encourage us to draw close to Him even during the times of uncertainty. We are reminded of the Creator’s intimate interest in us an individuals, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
There are many practical applications for our personal lives in these great truths. As I climb above the forest canopy of our present time I would encourage you to move toward one destination, making a difference for Jesus. It is easy to think that others had the privilege of serving Jesus during better times. I am not sure that is true. What I do know is that this is our time to touch others for Him. The Bible reminds us that while we are “saved by grace through faith…” it was for a purpose. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) The light always shines the brightest in the darkness.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson