God, assuming we believe in a divine being, existed before the beginning of time. And Christians believe the God who revealed Himself in the Bible never had a beginning, a thought beyond our ability to comprehend. But it is not beyond our ability to comprehend that He chose to create time (along with everything else) with a plan in mind. And that plan, conceived by a holy God of love, is now unfolding in every moment starting in Genesis 1 and consummating in Revelation 22.
Now here’s the catch. If we fail to explore the revealed intent of God in eternity past and if we fail to wonder in awe about what He has designed for eternity future, His plan, now unfolding in the story He has sovereignly scripted and is now sovereignly telling, can be maddening. Hurricanes, poverty, disease, bankruptcy, divorce, heartbreak, cruelty – it’s all happening on God’s watch.
Every attempt to live in the smaller story that begins at our birth and ends in our death, a story we typically script with the prayer that God will cooperate with whatever plan we came up with, will lead us into either deep frustration or shallow satisfaction. The more honest we are about what we desire, the more we will get in touch with what we most avidly want, the more we will understand what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1: 13: “God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race”, a life in which God’s ways too often make no sense.
But, and it’s good to know there’s a “but”, when we stretch our biblically informed mind to get the big picture, a picture so big it extends from eternity past to eternity present, we then catch a glimpse of the Larger Story God is telling. And that glimpse, always getting clearer as we study what God has revealed, enables us to trust that what Paul regarded as our small present troubles (see 2 Corinthians 4: 17) really are small passing troubles considering the glory yet to come.
Christians who numb their desire for what only eternity will provide and embrace only those desires that can be satisfied now, desires such as a happy family, decent money, and good health, to the extent that those good things come their way, live superficial lives, still too easily ruled by self-interest. But those who are in touch with their deepest longings and therefore “groan inwardly” as they “wait eagerly” for the Lord’s return (see Romans 8: 22, 23), find themselves on the narrow road to an abundance of love for God and for others at any personal cost.
Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, Bible teacher, speaker, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. He is currently scholar in residence at Colorado Christian University in Denver and visiting professor of spiritual formation for Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. Dr. Crabb and his wife, Rachael, live in North Carolina.
Visit NewWayMinistries.org for more information.
Read more from Dr. Crabb in When God’s Ways Make No Sense, available now wherever books are sold.
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