Born Ordinary, Called to be Extraordinary

God Holds onto His Promise, and Acts in Accordance to His Sovereignty

Some people say that we will surely see the fulfillment of our faith if we believe in the promise of God. There’re also some who say God has absolute sovereignty and thus regardless of how pressing we are in our belief, nobody can change God’s will if it is His purpose to fulfill it. Actually, these 2 sayings seem true, but they come from different angles; one focusses on God’s promise, while the other one focusses on God’s sovereignty. However, the most comprehensive understanding in this is to integrate both the promise of God and His sovereignty – ie, God will accomplish His promise, and He’ll also act in accordance to His sovereignty. We cannot completely analyze this mystery with our rationale, but our heart can bear witness for us if we have understood this great mystery. Firstly, we ought to ask ourselves if our knowledge of this truth leads us into more earnest prayers and intercession? Also, can we see God’s perfect will in the happenings that occur after our prayers? Try thinking: When Paul came to know the promise God has given to Israel, he had not given up praying for his own people and kin in his 20 years of faith, instead, he was utterly earnest in his intercessions. He did not receive a lot of optimistic evidences in the process of interceding for them because Israelites were so hardened, and they hated and persecuted him for the gospel he preached. However, Paul could not give up this interceding heart because of the promise given to Israel by God; instead, the pessimistic reality brought him into deeper anguish and sorrow when interceding, to the extent of willing to be cut off from Christ for the sake of their salvation. Is it compatible to our human logic? Certainly not! But this is the spirit of one who truly knows the promise of God. Paul’s faith in the promise is not a kind of blind faith; rather, he understood what God was doing through the exponential increase in the hardening and stubbornness of Israel. Perhaps he had wrestled and argued with God, questioned God and deeply examined what God was doing, and from here, he clearly saw the faithfulness of God. God was not faithless, instead, He designed the salvation history with His infinite wisdom, and save the depraved mankind through His method that was not known to man – ie, through the hardening of Israel, God brought the gospel to the Gentiles. When He has finished saving His chosen people among the Gentiles, He will use this to shatter the pride of Israel and stir them to repentance, and thus turn to God. Herein, Paul had also deeply known God’s revelation that was utterly mysterious, that is not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Hence, God has never abandoned His chosen people; neither does He change His redemption plan in view of the hardening of men. In contrary, God accomplishes more beautiful things. It may be difficult for us to comprehend such work of God because of the length of salvation history. As human, we only live for 70-80 years, and in such transient lifetime, we have a lot of realistic woes and burden (eg: illness, financial crisis, family salvation, dilemma in marriage, blessedness of children etc). As we think of these real problems, our first mentality is, “Lord, we do not have 2000 years to wait for the beautiful ending”. Besides, concerning the realities that we face, sometimes we just hope that God could work faster and solve the problems as soon as possible, and that our future can be secured. Often, God’s ideal is not something that can be easily sensed by our humanity, and this is also the reason why we continue to wrestle with God. Try asking: God has designed a salvation plan of 2000 years so meticulously, is He not trying to tell us that we do not have to worry for our personal problems that seem very real? Is He not trying to tell us that personal, family, region, and world gospelization are destined, and all we need to do is to firmly believe in God’s promise and accomplish the mission the Lord has entrusted to us, in order to see God’s fulfillment? If Paul’s intercession could bring forth the repentance and salvation of the most hardened Israelites before the history ends, should we not also be like him as we intercede for our kin and the unsaved people? Therefore, lets not be disheartened. Instead, look upon the author and perfecter of our faith Lord Jesus, and run the race marked out for us.

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