22 Feb 2013

On Display

Submitted by John T Reagan

Why did God create mankind and all his accessories – the earth, the universe, the animals, the plants – that accompanied him?  When I was young I asked my mother that question.  Her answer was simple – God created us because He loved us.  God loved us and desired our company long before even the smallest speck of matter existed.  My mother's words – if you take the time to ponder them – are deep and impacting.  If you take that truth she spoke and amplify it with God's willingness to sacrifice Jesus for the sake of our redemption, it becomes unfathomable.  Yet, as deep and profound as that is, His purposes for creation run deeper and spread wider than His love for mankind.  God's creation is far more expansive than we give Him credit for.  Our little three-dimensional universe is small when viewed from the places where God dwells.  So small that the Bible refers to heaven as His throne and the earth is His footstool.  (Is. 66:1)  Doesn’t it make you wonder just who, besides God, lives where He lives?  What kind of creature shares transdimensionality with God in those realms of existence that we earth dwellers cannot even imagine?  Well, angels, of course, cherubim and seraphim, "the four living creatures full of eyes" (Rev. 4:6), and who knows who else – but scripture gives us the impression that the heavenly realms teem with living beings who were all given life by God.  All were created by Him.  All have purpose given by Him.  All have a driving need to understand Him.

We earthbound human beings share that driving need with them.

Here is another question I asked when young and unschooled:  Why, when one of us humans comes into a saving relationship with Christ, does God not just snatch us up to heaven at that moment?  Why does He leave us here in this dark and miserable world where sin and evil abound and danger lurks around each corner?  Does He leave us here to witness of His saving grace and point others to Him?  Yes!  Do we remain here to do good works, extending His grace and unconditional love to the hurting and needy?  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yet, as awesome as those reasons are, our greatest purpose for remaining here in this sorry world is to learn to know Him – that person called God.  Our lifelong task is to  to grow into ever deeper relationship with Him.  To witness and do good works is certainly a part of His purposes for us, but to get to know Him is our highest calling.

Of all the varied residents of heaven, we children of Adam are unique.  We alone are made in His image.  Only the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are capable of sharing life with Him.  We were made for it!  So, the Angels watch us.  We are surrounded by a crowd that longs to see in us just one more small revelation of God and who He is.  (Eph. 3:10)  The Angels stare in wonder at the faith of the young student who holds fast to her belief in Christ when the whole campus is shouting at her, "There is no God!"  The father who passes up a promotion so that he can be available to his children and his wife, reflects the heart of his Father God.   Angels are amazed at that reflection!  The Iranian saint declaring his faith before the raging Muslim mob shines forth the righteousness of God with glory – and the Angels watch and marvel at the God he serves.

As children we saw the world as revolving around us.  Step-by-step, as we grew up, that fantasy was shown false and we matured and gained wisdom.  Why then do we persist in thinking that God's purpose in redeeming the church was only about preparing His bride?  Like children we think this existence is all about us and we fail to see that His purposes extend far beyond our union with Him.  Lucifer rebelled and took a third of heaven's occupants with him.  How could this happen?  Could they not see that such a rebellion was sure to fail at great loss to themselves?  Apparently not.  But now they can see because God created a universe and a planet and a race of images of Himself, images who reflect His very nature.  So the Angels watch and learn and see in us who He is.

Paul told the Corinthians he was "perplexed" at times about the course of his life.  "What are you doing, God?  This doesn't make sense."  (2 Cor. 4:8)  Job asked the same question.  "I did it all right, God!  Why are you treating me this way?"  (Job 19)  The answer?  They were on display!  The heavenly hosts were watching!  Through the lives and trials of righteous followers of Yahweh, angels gained insight into the nature of their Lord.  Our mission in this life is bigger than merely expanding the Kingdom of God.  Sometimes we simply can find no explanation for how our lives pan out.  Sometimes the turn of events seems to stand in stark contradiction to what the Bible tells us about God's love and His promises to care for us.  Understanding flees from us!  Sometimes we cry out with Job, "I did it all right, God!  Why aren't you helping me?"  There is only one real answer and Peter voiced it in John Chapter 6 when the crowds of followers were forsaking Jesus – "To whom should we go?  You have the words of life."  (John 6:67,68)  And so, like Job and like Paul, we endure.  We continue on.  We overcome.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

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