Pastor's Desk September 2019
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1,8b September 11, 2001 is a day America and the world will never forget. So many lives were lost: fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, friends, companions. Families from around the world bear the scars of what happened that day. And while the devastation from the attacks of September 11 is unforgettable, many of us find ourselves thrust into the midst of smaller but no less devastating personal catastrophes, and we wonder how we'll cope. Many people today are wondering how God could allow the tragedy of September 11, 2001. What could He be thinking? Is God really in control? Can we trust Him to run the universe if He would allow terrorists to take the lives of so many people? It is important to recognize that God dwells in a different realm. He occupies another dimension. "My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Make special note of the word like. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are they even like ours. We are not even in the same neighborhood. We are thinking: Preserve the body; He's thinking, Save the soul. We dream of a pay raise. He dreams of raising the dead. We avoid pain and seek peace. God uses pain to bring peace. "I'm going to live before I die," we resolve. "Die so you can live," He instructs. We love what rusts. He loves what endures. We rejoice at our successes. He rejoices at our confessions. We show our children the Nike star with the million-dollar smile and say, "Be like Mike." God points to the crucified carpenter with bloody lips and a torn side and says, "Be like Christ." Our thoughts are not like God's thoughts. Our ways are not like His ways. He has a different agenda. He dwells in a different dimension. He lives on another plane. “The heavens tell the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. They have no speech or words; they have no voice to be heard. But their message goes out through all the world; their words go everywhere on earth.” (PSALM 19:1-4)
Nature is God's workshop. The sky is His resume. The universe is His calling card. You want to know who God is? See what He has done. You want to know His power? Take a look at His creation. Curious about His strength? Pay a visit to His home address: 1 Billion Starry Sky Avenue. Want to know His size? Step out into the night and stare at starlight emitted one million years ago.... God is untainted by the atmosphere of sin, un-bridled by the timeline of history, unhindered by the weariness of the body. What controls you does not control Him. What troubles you does not trouble Him. What fatigues you does not fatigue Him. Is an eagle disturbed by traffic? No, he rises above it. Is the whale perturbed by a hurricane? Of course not; he plunges beneath it. Is the lion flustered by the mouse standing directly in his way? No, he steps over it. How much more is God able to soar above, plunge beneath, and step over the troubles of the earth! "What is impossible with man is possible with God" (Matthew 19:26). Our questions betray our lack of understanding: How can God be everywhere at one time? (Who says God is bound by a body?) How can God hear all the prayers that come to him? (Perhaps His ears are different from yours.) How can God be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? (Could it be that heaven has a different set of physics than earth?) If people down here will not forgive me, how much more am I guilty before a holy God? (Oh, just the opposite. God is always able to give grace when we humans can't-he invented it.) How vital that we pray, armed with the knowledge that God is in heaven. Pray with any lesser conviction, and our prayers are timid, shallow, and hollow.
Look up and see what God has done and watch how your prayers are energized. This knowledge gives us confidence as we face the uncertain future. We know that He is in control of the universe, and so we can rest secure. But important also is the knowledge that this God in heaven has chosen to bend near toward earth to see our sorrow and hear our prayers. He is not so far above us that He is not touched by our tears. Though we may not be able to see His purpose or His plan, the Lord of heaven is on His throne and in firm control of the universe and our lives. So, we entrust Him with our future. We entrust Him with our very lives. Grace and Peace, Pastor Larry ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++