The Human Element of Surprise

I used to think I had it all figured out. I thought I could be smarter than God. Even as a young child (five years?) I thought up a construct whereby I ask God what I’d be doing in five minutes—and then just do something else. Yes, even then, I was seeking to exert my will over His and show myself to be smarter than I actually was. What I overlooked, however, was the realization that I wholeheartedly believed in God without what “progressive” or unbelieving adults might consider “tangible” evidence. Really, my preoccupation with reading the future and trying to break into the mind of God had more to do with the fact that I was living in a family with only one active parent and another who was merely pretending at pretty much everything. It behooves us to stop pretending, it really does. Were my future more secure, as filtered through the eyes and heart of an involved parent, one who brought to the family their unique parental undergirding, I wouldn’t have had so amorphous an idea of what the future was. I probably wouldn’t have been free to think along such childishly existentialist lines, I would have just lived out my life and embraced the future without seeing other possibilities. But, boy, can that mindset really get you into trouble once you back up a notion of eternal now-ness with a feeling of contented detachment from God. This is why struggle and toil are necessary at times. To keep us on the straight and narrow. God loves us. I digress.

A friend of mine once said, very matter-of-factly—as if it were something that nobody’d ever realized—that “time travel to the future is possible because we’re already doing it”. *blink blink* I guess he has a point. The future is being made as we step out onto it. And into it. My future, your future, is guaranteed because God is giving it to us, one moment at a time. Even this, though, is not enough to alleviate the crushing misery of present and depressing circumstances, should we be experiencing such. There’s something else that’s needed. What could that be?

I’m writing this from a standpoint of hope in my future. Sure, there are things that I’m doing, sewing seeds of said hope that will (hopefully) produce as the days, months, years progress. But there’s also something that’s intangible, at least ungraspable from a merely mental effort. I believe that God is leading me in both the very broadest sense and also whenever I choose to acknowledge Him on a moment by moment basis. Question: can we as Christians hope to be led of God moment-by-moment, when we ignore Him in those moments? Something I shall ponder. Not to the neglect of His acknowledgement, mind you. Benjamin Franklin said that “lost time is never found again”. This is distressing if I don’t believe that God “works all things together for good to those that love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

See, God holds all of our futures in His hand. Yes, we want the blessings that we think He’ll supply us with. If that’s what we think the highest is. Comfort, ease, purpose and peace. The truth is, God wants us to spend our moments, our days, our futures in a reckless pursuit of knowing Him. And knowing Jesus. His love. His peace, “not as the world giveth” (John 14:27)

I say all of that to quote this: “God is sovereign, but I am responsible”. This quote from J. I. Packer sewed up the problem I had where I saw myself free from, not only a tangible future, but also free from culpability and responsibility in my actions and interactions. I was disconnected from reality, as it were. And I’m not ashamed to admit. Yes, God has all knowledge. God sees all. And much has been written and argued throughout the centuries by men who’ve sought to wrap their minds around such an out-of-this-world concept of someone who possessess the attributes inherent to God. But the truth is, without humility, we’ll be bumping our heads on a ceiling of pride whilst time goes by and we’re without its flow, afraid to get our feet wet.

In closing, I will say that Iceland is a unique place. Culturally, they welcome mistakes because, to them, it shows that effort is being made. If we are making a sincere effort, then God can work with us. God can steer us into the future that we so desperately desire but seem powerless to realize on our own. God is waiting on us to acknowledge Him in love.

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