God is in charge. He is over everything. He is sovereign. He rules graciously and powerfully from Heaven in perfect wisdom, love, and grace (see Psalm 11). Whatever you are facing, adverse or delightful, your life is all about God … His will … His way.
But we easily lose our theological moorings when we insist on living horizontally. When we do, the winds of adversity eventually cause us to drift from what we truly believe. How much better to choose a response of faith that submits to God’s sovereign will, yielding to His gracious purposes in both giving and taking away those things and people we hold dear.
After all, that’s His sovereign right. God doesn’t exist to make us healthy and happy. He exists to glorify His name. We are the channel through which that glory flows. T. S. Eliot puts it this way:
To believe in the supernatural is not simply to believe that after living a successful, material, and fairly virtuous life here one will continue to exist in the best possible substitute for this world, or that after living a starved and stunted life here one will be compensated with all the good things one has gone without: it is to believe that the supernatural is the greatest reality here and now.¹
I suggest you reread that profound statement. The life of faith is not what you purchase or produce. Faith consists in knowing your heavenly Father is at work for His glory and for your good, to mold you into the image of His Son, Jesus. That’s what life is about! If it takes the loss of everything to gain that vertical perspective, then embrace the loss. If it takes your broken dreams and an abandonment of what you had counted on all your life to realign your life vertically, then abandon it. It is all about God, who gives and takes away.
During his extended grief, Job realized that the most important thing in life exists in the supernatural, not the natural – in the invisible, not the visible. That’s the power of Biblical theology. It keeps us thinking rightly about God and ourselves, especially in times of trouble.
Real living is eternal living. Real perspective is an understanding of what isn’t seen. Real maturity is guiding one’s life according to the intangibles.
Consider the apostle Paul’s words from Colossians 3:
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
That’s a truckload of great theology! And it represents the foundation for a vertical perspective.
If you learn nothing else in your years walking with the Lord, learn and accept that God is in control, that He is sovereign. Embrace the fact that what you are going through is divinely guided by a heavenly Father who loves you too much to do anything cruel to you. Remember, God exists in a realm beyond our comprehension. He’s not some crusty old man with a long beard blowing wind out of the north. God is incomprehensibly great. He’s omniscient. He’s omnipotent. He’s omnipresent. He’s eternal. He’s ageless and timeless. He’s good. He’s gracious. He’s loving and just. And He’s always right … even when you feel like what happened to you was all wrong.
¹T. S. Eliot, “The Modern Dilemma,” Christian Register, October 19, 1933, quoted in Yancey, Disappointment with God, 184.
Excerpted From: What If … God Has Other Plans? Finding Hope When Life Throws You the Unexpected by Charles Swindoll, Tyndale House Publishers, ©2019.
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