If you read the news today it seems like everything is out of control. Politics is out of control. I mean, really:
Cost of living is out of control. Gas prices are out of control. Tell me about that last one. The price of regular gas went up ten cents last week, and two cents just today. $3.69 on the way into work, $3.71 on the way home from work. I don’t get paid for two more weeks. I wonder what the price will be then. The weather is out of control, there’s 80 degrees in Maine and twisters in Michigan and 250,000 tons of snow in Anchorage. The Middle East is out of control, with hundreds of rockets falling in Israel and at one point a million Israelis huddling in shelters. Iran is threatening the destruction of the US. You heard right, they’re not just the usual threats against Israel, but Iran issued a direct threat to destroy the US and not to rest until they have accomplished that. The economic situation is out of control. 80% of Americans say they are not better off than they were 4 years ago. UK unemployment is up more that they even figured for February.
A report is out that antibiotic overuse is so prevalent a scratched knee could be deadly. That last one reminded me of a documentary I’d seen recently in which a global epidemic occurred and within two weeks civilization collapsed. In the documentary, which was interspersed with live drama to illustrate the effects of the situations the various authorities were describing, the father, who had led his family out of LA and managed to survive gangs, disarray, hunger, thirst, loss of possessions, and all sorts of animal and human dangers, died from a scratch on his hand.
I think I have mentioned every sphere in which we live; food, transportation, government, war, medicine, peace, etc. Every sphere of our lives are unraveling, undergoing pressure, or otherwise getting worse. It sure feels like things are spinning out of control.
I was musing on God’s orderliness. Time and time again in the bible he shows us just how much He is in control. Everything happens in His schedule, in His timetable, in His timing, for His reasons. Nothing escapes His notice. Nothing happens unless He causes it, allows it, or oversees it and then brings it all to the Good for those who love Him.
You have to read the bible a lot to get this broad of an overview. I can put in bible verse after bible verse, but it wouldn’t broaden the scope enough to illustrate what I’m saying. The best thing to do is read Matthew 1-3. I’ll synopsize here.
For millennia, the People knew that there would come a Messiah to redeem them and bring them to sinless glory. They waited and they waited and they waited. It seemed like a long time was passing. And a long time was passing. But in God’s orderliness, this is how time was passing:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17).
Orderly. Precise. Jesus arrived at the fourteenth generation of the fourteenth generation of the fourteenth generation, just as planned.
When the Magi arrived, Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Mt 2:3). So Herod called the priests and teachers and asked about this birth and where it was supposed to take place. They replied:
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:5-6)
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just as He planned. Orderly.
Herod was much troubled and he decided to kill the boy Jesus, this coming King he had heard of, by killing all the tots under the age of two. But God sent an angel to Joseph, advising him to flee to Egypt. And so another prophecy was fulfilled.
“When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matthew 3:14-15)
Herod’s massacre then happened, and so the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled–
“A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.” (Matthew 3:18).
|Peter Paul Rubens Massacre of the Innocents
God sent the People their first prophet in 400 years, a man to announce the coming kingdom and to call for repentance: John the Baptist. This was to fulfill he “who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘ Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:3).
Orderly. He was spoken of to come, and he came.
If you take the broad view you see that all had happened just as it should. You see that it is all happening now just as it should. Though daily events seem out of control, over the long term they are actually very orderly.
As an example, you look at the Reubens painting it looks like chaos. The mothers of the slain babies sure didn’t feel like life was orderly- it felt like it was spinning out of control. As the angel shook Joseph’s shoulder and told him to flee to Egypt, it sure must have felt like things were spinning out of control. You know how you feel when you get a 2 am phone call! It is scary at best and chaotic at worst, especially if the call brings bad news, especially if you have to run out to the police station or to the hospital.
I understand how the people of Jesus’ day would be confused, the disparate verses calling for a Bethlehem-born, lamenting Rachel, out of Egypt, Nazarene presaged by a Nazrite eating locusts and honey didn’t seem to fit together. But then, just as suddenly, they did. His prophecy is perfect and perfectly orderly.
If you feel like life is getting out of control, I understand. There’s high crime, wantonness, bloated lusts. But they too are prophesied:
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:3b-8).
All these things must come to pass. And then He will call for us, and suddenly everything we have been told for thousands of years in the twinkling of an eye will become past history.
God has everything in control. If you are saved by His grace, your soul is secure. Everything is progressing just as it should be. Nothing is out of control.
It is happening in an orderly way, precisely, and perfectly. And no matter what happens in my life, no matter how low my bank account gets, or how many rumors of reduction in force swirl past my ears, no matter how many times I have to hide in the tub with a pillow over my head from tornadoes, no matter how empty my refrigerator gets, I know He has everything in control. That knowledge is the securest place I could possibly be, and I wouldn’t trade it. I am grateful for His grace, His perfection, His plan, His love for keeping me sheltered in this wonderful knowledge.
If you would like to partake of the sweetness of His security, knowing everything is perfect in the world according to His plan, then repent of your sins. Appeal to Jesus as your savior from the wrath of God, and fling yourself on Him in sorrow for your crimes against Him. He will forgive you. And then I would be blessed to say to you, “Welcome to the family of God.”