Beyond My Understanding But Not My Reach

The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Proverbs 16:4

Warning:  I’m going deep today, so bear with me.  I’m going to attempt with God’s help to explain something I know I will never truly grasp with my finite mind, yet at the same time, it is something God has been solidifying in me lately in a way most comforting to my soul.  And I am fully confident that one day my faith will be made sight, that For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I pray now I may explain it in a way that is most comforting to you as well.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was praying for a friend and seeking how I may encourage her, God spoke something to my heart.  I’ve always known God as omnipresent, but I’ve always subconsciously limited it to being physically everywhere at once. So He is both with you and with me at the same time. Yet the other morning He reminded me He is the Great I Am. He exists. This means He not only can be everywhere at once, but also He simultaneously exists in the past, the present, and the future. So not only is He with each of us wherever we go, but even more awesome, He has always been with each of us, is with each of us right now, and is already waiting for each of us as we take the next steps on our journeys of faith. This means when He says He will never leave us nor forsake us, He truly means never.

Yet the past few days, as God has continued to write His sovereignty on my heart, He has shown me how His omniscience and omnipresence work together.  He not only exists beyond all time and space, but also He knows all that has, is, and will ever happen. It is the coming together of these attributes Jesus refers to when He replies to the Jewish leaders, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am” (John 8:58).   It is why Peter encourages us, “do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” ( 2 Peter 3:8).  It is the concept behind Revelation 1:8:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” And it is the reason David can declare with confidence in Psalm 139,
“My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
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. (vs 15-16)

Before God ever created us, He knew us.  He knew every moment of our lives–every word we’d speak, every thought we’d think, every action we’d take.  He truly knew us before we were born; He is indeed the beginning and the end.

And it is this idea of God’s ultimate omnipresence–God’s ability to transcend time and space–which leads me to the above verse from Proverbs.  At first glance, you may think to yourself, “Does God create evil?” or “Why would God create the wicked for the day of destruction?” Well, first of all, God is not evil; nor He does He create evil. He cannot.  He is holy.   Jesus Himself declares “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). James 1:13 reminds us “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”  First  John 1:5 proclaims, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”  First Corinthians 14:33 encourages us with the knowledge “…God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

Furthermore, Romans 5:12 specifically states that sin came into the world through Adam.  God did not create sin; He created man who then chose to sin.  If God had created sin, then He could not have declared upon completion of the 6th day of creation,And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).  Very good–not very bad.  God cannot create evil, yet the man He created had the capacity to choose it.  And he did.  And each of us did as well. 

God does not sin, but man does.   And because we sin, evil exists.  It wasn’t created; it was chosen

Are you still with me?   Let’s review for a minute before I continue.   First, God transcends time and space so He knows the beginning and the end and everything in between.  Second, God did not create evil; we His creation chose it.   Putting those two thoughts together, God knew before the foundation of the world each of us would sin.  He also knew which people would choose Him as Savior and which people would not.   So before I was born, God knew the choices I’d make–both good and bad–yet He still chose to create me. He knew the choices–both good and bad–you’d make, yet He still chose to create you as well.

Why? Let’s look at some more verses to clarify…

“Remember this and stand firm,
    recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
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,’
calling a bird of prey from the east,

    the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Isaiah 46:8-11)

and…

“…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. “(Romans 8:28-30)

and…

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

God as the great I Am knows the past, the present, and the future–and He exists simultaneously in all of them.  This means before God created the world, He already knew each of us by name, the choices we would make, and the ultimate end of it all. In other words, before He created everything, He also knew everything.  He foreknew the ways in which both the wicked and the righteous would come together to create His perfect story.  He chose to allow the good and the bad because He knew in the end He’d receive the most glory through it.  You and I may have chosen sin and wickedness, but then God in His sovereignty chose to use it all for His glory. He sent Jesus so we could victoriously proclaim, Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

So how is knowing God is, was, and always will be comforting to me?  It is comforting to me knowing that God has me here for a purpose, a purpose I will not fully realize until eternity.  He knows my purpose even when I may not.  It is comforting to know my tomorrow has already been chosen by my God and Savior–my tomorrow has already passed through His sovereign fingers. It is comforting to know that while I do not know my future, while I may not ever fully understand why things happen the way they happen, I do know the One who created me knew before He created me every moment of my life.  He wrote my story before my story began, and He wrote it knowing my heart and knowing the glory He’d receive through it all.

God new before the foundation of the world the choices I’d make, and He still chose to create me and to use me.  And the same goes for you.  God knows you more than you know you.  He alone knows the thoughts and intentions of your heart (1 Kings 8:39).  He knows the words you’ll pray before you pray them (Psalm 139:4). He knows your future and holds it in His hands.  He knows each of us and He chose each of us “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4).

So then what do we do knowing God knows it all before we know it all and will always know more than we could ever comprehend? What do we do knowing His thoughts and ways are not ours, for He Himself declares, “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9)? Do we sit back and just let life happen? Do we cease praying? Do we sigh to ourselves and say, “It is what it is”? As Paul proclaimed again and again in Romans: Certainly not!  His ways may be beyond our understanding, but His presence is never beyond our reach. Knowing God is God, we must  pray with confidence and with anticipation believing with all our hearts He already knew, already knows, and is already working all things for His good pleasure.  We should come to Him like Abraham interceded for Sodom in Genesis 18, boldly asking God to move and to save and to heal.

Is there something or someone heavy on your heart?  Pray!  Is your life not how you envisioned it?  Pray!  Do you have questions, fears, uncertainties?  Pray!  For indeed, God knows you and knows your thoughts and knows your heart.  It could be–it could very well be–He placed that person on your heart and in your path because He foreknew you would be the messenger of love, grace, peace, and healing.  It could very well be He allowed the trial to come because He knew you’d seek Him through it, that you’d walk out Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  He knew you’d obey His Words in Joshua 1:9:  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

And as we pray, we must also read, meditate on, and memorize His Word.  After all, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). To know His Word is to know Him.  Furthermore, His Word is not only powerful , as stated in Hebrews 4:12 (“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart”); but also, it is “profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

And finally, we must believe His Words of encouragement from Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” As I wrote the other day, we must have faith, “for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

In other words, we must trust that if God knows the future, then He has each of us where we are for “such as time as this” (Esther 4:14). There are no surprises and no mistakes.  So go forth with confidence knowing, The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).  Instead of wondering what might happen next, instead of wondering why things are the way they are, instead of harboring hurt, regret, or resentment for things done or not done, seek Him.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).

You are where you are because God ordained it, and God ordained it because He knew you’d provide Him the greatest glory through it.   Again, He didn’t promise a life of ease; He himself told us, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).  But even though our life may not be easy–although we’ll have to suffer injustice sometimes–although we make poor choices sometimes–we can “…take heart; I [Jesus] have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

We overcome because He has already overcome.  We live because He lives. And since we know as Romans 8:28 states,  “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” and since we also know “in [His] book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for [us], when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16), we can in turn walk this earth with confidence–confidence that the One who made us will also sustain us (Psalm 55:22), and the One who knew us before the world began will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

God is with you, my friend.  He always has been and He always will be.  Although life may not be smooth, although there is pain, sickness, and heartache, rest assured He has already walked the path and ordained it for His good pleasure.  And one day–that glorious day–when we are able to see with clarity, we too, will join the angels in casting our crowns before Him and proclaiming,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”
(Revelation 4:8)

 

 

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