The MoS gang is once again gathering together in my hometown today to do a batch of recordings. Aside from hearing Carl repeatedly pronounce Maryland wrong, I am looking forward to what we have lined up for the day. One of our topics for discussion is the excellent commentary on Job by Christopher Ash.
Ash articulates the question that Job is stewing with and that God responds to in his first speech. It is a question that we all face throughout life: Do we live in a well-run world?
Even though I theologically know the answer to this and I wouldn’t dare want to utter that question, I have to continually remind myself what I know to be true about God when things do not seem to confirm it. How can the world be well-run when a mom in her prime dies of cancer, leaving her family to ache in darkness? How can a world be well-run when a 17-year-old, Christian young woman crashes into a school bus, immediately leaving her parents and community to mourn her death? It wasn’t drunk driving. It wasn’t even texting and driving. Yet she was distracted. How can a world be well-run when a seventh-grader unexpectedly goes into cardiac arrest and isn’t strong enough to make it?
And even on a smaller, everyday-life scale I am still confronted with this question. I make plans—pretty good plans. And yet providence of bad weather (“an act of God”) can close a whole airport down, rendering my well-ordered plans into chaos. How can a world be well-run when I need to fly from Atlanta to Cincinnati, with a sketchy layover, to then get to DC?? How does that make any sense? My flying time is doubled and I may not even make that second plane. Well-run??!! I’m a mom with a plan, ready to happily join my family in worship after a great two days with women who love the Lord! Should I be punished for trying to do good?
I wanted what was good—to worship with my family in my local covenant community. Except my stupid flight was cancelled. And to top it off, just to make things more dramatic, my cell phone dies and my charger does too—the night before travel.
But God is there. I pray knowing God is there, and that he is sustaining me in all things. And I think, how dare I pray for cell phone power and connecting flights when my neighbor just died of cancer? Who cares if I’m stranded in Cincinnati? Who cares if I miss a night of sleep over stupid travel anxiety? There are more important problems in the world to be solved. There are families truly hurting.
And there is a God who is in control.
We live in a well-run world. We do. We do because it is run by a good God. The God. And he is good. Only faith sees this because in our sinful nature, we have our own ideas about what is good and who is good. There is one source of good.
Oh, he is Good! If we could hold fast to this truth, we would live in such wisdom and peace. And yet we want to hold the power of deciding good.
But because God is good, and because of his great love for his people, he will not let us have that word. His Word is much better. And it commands the water into position. It controls the darkest places that we cannot fathom. It is the source of true light. It puts the angelic stars in motion. And it made an oath for the salvation of his beloved.
How beautiful is the wisdom and the Word of God! How wonderful is his goodness! While we think we are amidst chaos, he knows that this world is well-run. And he continues forever according to his goodness.
No, nothing is random. God does not miss a thing. He does not react or concoct. He knows. He is sovereign. And he is good.
And his rule is good, all the time. All the time.
*Originally published on February 27, 2015