Saturday, February 19, 2011

Provision Proclaimed by the Cosmos

What beautiful stars…

Do you ever look up when there is a clear night sky and recall the vast promise of our eternal God?

What comfort the sand…

Do you ever consider that such rough grains are endless measures of a wonderful promise great as the rainbow set before Noah after the flood?

As I was working on one of the panels of an upcoming mural for Christ Church at Park Presidio in San Francisco a thought of reflection came upon me. The panel I am working on depicts Abraham holding his son, Isaac, looking up at the stars after Isaac was spared. What comfort most have warmed Abraham’s heart as he held his boy in his arms and gazed up into the heavenly vastness of the cosmos. What joy it must have been to explain to Isaac why everything just happened and the greatness of their Provider.

It is of no mistake that the passage reads as it does when Abraham replies to the men traveling with them: “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you” (Genesis 22:5 Emphasis mine). Abraham was commended for such faith. He trusted that God (the Eternal and Almighty) would perform a miracle previously unseen… the resurrection of the dead. Why was Abraham so certain of this? God had promised him earlier in chapter 15 of an offspring. God keeps His word so the logical thing and right thing to do would be to sacrifice Isaac believing God would do something miraculous to bring Isaac back. God’s test of Abraham succeeded and Isaac did not need to be sacrificed, but a provision of a ram caught in the thicket was. This all projects to the coming Messiah Who has come and was sacrificed instead of us, the analogous Isaacs.

So why bother writing this? I’m certain, at least those of you who are saved know the historical events of Abraham and Isaac. I’ve been having a difficult time lately securing a job among other doors that God has kept closed to me even after prayer that I’d hope emulate such desperation as Jacob during the wrestling and the cries of King David. Many have tried to comfort with words that God will provide… me with a job. The only reason I am ever timid on an absolute certainty that He will provide me with a job is that I have yet to see a “yes, I will provide you a job” written out in Scripture. What I do see is that God will provide food for those who fear Him so that they never go hungry (Psalm 111:5) and that He cares for those that love Him and are called His children. He listens to our prayers and will not give us bad things if we cry out for what are truly good things. There are two major things that dominate my prayers for what I hope and desire for, one of those being a job to pay off my debts and provide for my future and second desire- which generally drives the desire for the job (although decreasing finances is another reason I tend to want to ask so often).

Christ is our ultimate provision, however. Nothing we could ever need or ask for can compare with this. His sacrifice covers over all my sins and failure to provide financially for the future or pay off debts. He lived a perfect life because I can’t. And beyond this, He provides us with His Spirit Who leads and guides our steps. I found myself sometimes discouraged by Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” ignoring that His purposes are very good. But when I read Proverbs 16:9 I was comforted and reminded that His will is good and He is the director of my steps. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

In short avoiding writing another dozen or so paragraphs I just wanted to say that though things are very uncertain in my life right now and although many doors seem shut to me I will wait on my Lord, the determiner and director of my steps. Long ago He promised my hope and assurance in those stars, a star that would one day rise above the land of Bethlehem and conquer the dead and defeat the power of sin once and for all. God is not calling me… or anyone for that matter to live life poor or rich or in between, but rather that we trust our lives in His stead and follow Him.

The stars proclaimed His trustworthiness and provision,… will we?

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Steven--

I don't have any eloquent response to this, but I will say that I enjoyed reading this. It was simultaneously refreshing and comforting.