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« Signs of the Times | Main | The Good Samaritan Paraphrased »

Don't Underestimate God

horse_with_blinders_small.jpg Call it the tyranny of the urgent, tunnel vision or just the daily-ness of life, most of us are conditioned to think on a horizontal plane. We walk through life as though we were restricted by a set of blinders. We see little more than what we want to eat for breakfast, what we should do for a sinus headache or how to fight the traffic on the way to work. Occasionally, we venture a bit further and think about seasonal jobs like changing tires on the car or replacing the storm windows. But typically, we spend very few moments focusing on major themes of life and eternity.

Such spiritual myopia blinds us to the greater purposes of God. As humans, we jet through our routines on a straight line deployment, comprehending only the next task in the sequence. At the same time, God is busy being God and he fulfills the definition of God in everything he does. God does a billion things at once. He makes all billion of them relate to each other, he sets each of the billion things up, and he crafts each one in such a multi-faceted way that it accomplishes many things simultaneously. He calculates how the thing he does today will impact things that will happen next year or ten years down the road. He works above us, beneath us, behind us, before us and beside us, all on an infinite number of levels, and still manages to relate to us and our finite existence.

For example, when Abram responded to the call of God out of Haran , the greatest challenge in his own mind was to extricate himself from his country and culture and move out towards the promised land. But, as Abram methodically put one foot in front of the other, God was orchestrating an intricate plan that would culminate in the salvation of mankind. He was establishing a nation, surveying a land in which this nation could live, culling out the influence of a Lot , preparing a father for Isaac, securing a lineage for the Messiah, cultivating a friend and setting faith in sharp relief.

When you look too closely at Bible stories, you see only human history. That’s fine, but when you step back and take a look, you are struck by the transcendent plan of God at work. Isaac wanted a bride, but God wanted a Rebecca through whom he could put the attitude of the church on display. Jacob fought to win a wrestling match, but God is no WWF fan. He wanted to change a Jacob into an Israel . Joseph sought to successfully administer the Pharaoh’s kingdom, but God wanted to preserve the family of Jacob during a famine. Jochebed only followed her motherly instincts when she whispered and sang of the one, true God to baby Moses, but God used her to shape the convictions of a leader. Moses fled into Midian for his life, but God wanted to train him for the job of a deliverer. David wanted to protect his sheep from the lion and bear, but God intended to prepare a warrior to fight Goliath, and a king to rule over Israel .

Likewise, when you become too tied to the mundane events that monotonously stretch out before you, you lose awareness of the divine purposes working within you. Your personal assessment of the circumstances of life that drive your prayers and fuel your passions may be far too small. You may think you are merely singing in the choir, but God knows that you are strengthening the church and impacting others with your willingness to worship. You may feel you are plodding along in slavish obedience to the Bible, but God is using you to influence and inspire others who may never say a word to you.

The prayer warriors’ closet becomes God’s war room to win great spiritual battles. Sunday School teachers lessons get repeated by foreign missionaries. Simple acts of kindness set the stage for mighty revivals. Encouraging words are pivotal in salvaging someone’s powerful ministry.

We must develop a sense of the eternal in the temporal. Without it, we will succumb to the existentialist philosophy that increasingly defines our culture. It is a depressing outlook that limits all things to the here and now, the visible, audible and tangible. When we refuse to see God’s transcendent plan, we doom ourselves to negative, discordant and bitter lives. This is precisely why the Word of God teaches us to walk by faith and not by sight. Human sight and human understanding always underestimates the width, breadth, height and depth of God’s plan.

Stop viewing God from a limited, time-bound perspective. Remove your blinders. You will be amazed at all the things he accomplishes through your unremarkable, but faithful acts.

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