Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ch. 2 - From Him, Through Him, To Him (Part 1)

Oh, the depth of the riches & wisdom & knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments & how inscrutable His ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to Him that he might be repaid?" For from Him & through Him & to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. ~ Romans 11:33-36

These verses - & the chapter that expounds upon them - are a mountaintop experience. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss states, this doxology connects the what of Romans 1-11 to the so what of the rest of the book. And when you stop to behold the transcendent beauty inherent in these verses, it simply takes your breath away. It did mine. In order to give you the same sense of awe as I gained in reading this chapter, I'm going to devote 2 posts to it - one for the what & one for the so what.

"This passage . . . gives us a perspective - a grid - for responding to His sovereign choices in our lives, especially those we cannot understand." (pg. 29) And aren't there a lot of those? There are a lot of circumstances in our lives that we just simply can't understand why they're happening the way that they are. If we were in charge, we would orchestrate things in a much more painless way. Why is God doing it this way? Why do I have to experience strife in family relationships or discontentment in my job? Why is it necessary to go through a spiritually dry season? To put it bluntly, as these very verses show, because He has a depth of wisdom, knowledge, & judgment that is beyond us. We can't search them out. We can't easily understand them. We have to get it through our heads that our way is wrong & God's way is right. . . & we don't have to understand it. He is wholly other & completely above us in all ways. Unlike us, He has no lack of wisdom or knowledge. Nothing escapes or surprises Him. He knows everything about the momentous events of history all the way down to the minute details of our every day lives. He not only knows them, He's in control of them. And this brings immense comfort to His children because we know that no matter how out of control we are, He never is. Nothing ever happens to us apart from His will. And because "God works all things together for good for those who love Him & are called according to His purpose", we can rest assured that when we get that dreaded diagnosis or lose our job or face infertility or any other crisis, He is taking care of us. His plans are for our good, not for our demise. Even when - especially when - it hurts, we can know that He's working His sanctification in us, so that we will be like Him. How can we know that? "For from Him & through Him & to Him are all things." All of the circumstances in history & in our personal lives happens in order to bring Him glory. When evil occurs, He receives glory in His wrath toward that evil or in bringing the evil doer to repentance & forgiving that evil in His mercy. When one of His children suffers well, such as Rachel Barkey, trusting in Him come what may, He receives immense glory! When one of His children gives up a comfortable life to spend their lives living out & preaching the Gospel, such as Katie Davis, God receives glory! When parents joyfully raise their children in the fear & admonition of the Lord, faithfully going about their daily duties out of love for God, He receives glory. What in the world makes such people trust & serve a God they cannot see or touch? Faith. Faith that God's "riches & wisdom & knowledge" are of such unfathomable depth that we can never know them fully. Faith that lets go of having to know everything God knows for one simple reason: He knows it & that's enough. Faith that knows that God is good & only gives the best gifts to His children. Faith that knows that even when it hurts, God is there, He's working out His plan - again, for our good - & in the end He will get the glory & we will receive immense blessing. This faith is not of us. It's of God alone. To Him be glory forever. Amen.