I was reminiscing the other day about events in my life after which everything was destined to be forever different.
For example the day I got the results of my eleven-plus exam (an arcane system in the UK that was basically an IQ test that determined what kind of High School you would attend) so I could study French, Latin, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and Music, rather than more trade-based subjects like mechanics, woodworking, welding or machining.
I remember the day I was accepted to study at Glasgow University (a very limited number of places and the Latin and Physics got me in!)
There was the day I passed my driving test.
There was the day at University I walked in to the Computer Building (one computer = one building, in those days) and realized I could envision using it to do lots of things that had not yet been invented.
There was Midnight on December 31st 1970 when I placed a diamond (three-in-a-twist) engagement ring on my girlfriend’s finger with a promise to spend my life with her if she’d have me. Thankfully she said yes, and we’re still happily together in love.
There was the day we brought my baby daughter home from the hospital and I realized she was now totally dependent on me and she did not come with an instruction manual!
There was the day I bought my first house. There was the day I took off and landed a small airplane as the solo pilot (take offs are optional, landings are mandatory!)
I won’t regale you with more of my list — there are many, many more when, as that great sage Yogi Berra counseled, I came to a fork in the road and took it!
You will each have your own unique list of events in your life after which everything was destined to be different.
There are days like that in world events too. July 17th 1945 at the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico changed the whole world’s outlook for ever! Nothing could ever revert to the way it was after that genie was unleashed.
The reason I bring this up is because of a discussion I was having with a friend about interpreting events and accounts in the Old Testament of the Bible. I was surprised to hear myself tell my friend that we know more about the character of God than the authors of the Old Testament scriptures did. Happily my friends don’t let me away with broad generalizations like that without backing them up.
My belief is often expressed in a mantra that gets trotted out in worship services in our church: “God is good, all the time; and all the time God is good!” We have become so accustomed to this truth that we don’t realize that the Old Testament authors were not convinced of it. To them, God was a means to an end. Certainly you wanted God on your side and didn’t want Him as an enemy! You wanted God to do bad things to your enemies (go read David’s Psalms where he implores God to devastate his opponents). Basically their belief, with some notable exceptions, was you wanted to keep your head down and not anger Him. To them, sacrifices were basically bribes to keep God out of your hair!
One person changed all that — Jesus!
After Jesus you can never go back to the old way of looking at God.
Jesus shows us what God is really like: God is good, God is light and God is love!
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good…” Mark 10:18 NLT
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 john 1: 5-7 NLT
“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NLT
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NLT
This is the information that the Old Testament authors didn’t have. This is information that allows us to examine incidents, events and history in the Old Testament through a different lens.
My friend and I were discussing the Passover and Noah’s floating zoo in particular, and how there is a different perspective to be gained from God’s actions if they are viewed from the point of view that God is good, all the time.
When you approach life from that point of view, everything changes!
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT
You are loved!
Let’s start approaching challenges from the point of view that God is good, all the time, and any outcome can be a manifestation of his glory!
This changes everything!
Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black
P.S. if you’d like to read previous ruminations of mine they can be found at https://www.salvationarmyconcordca.org/chronicle/?category=Bible%20Study