Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are enjoying some time off with your friends and family, looking forward to the beginning of summer. I also hope that you will find some time today to remember the sacrifices that have been made by so many so that you and I can enjoy the freedoms that we have been blessed with.
I really try to live in awe of God in my everyday life. I try to be purposeful in seeing the way He works around me and in me, but more often than I would like to admit, I allow the daily grind to diminish my sense of wonder. The demands of my day, both real and imagined, can keep my focus inward as I try to navigate my life. Even with the sticky note on my computer that says “Pray more. Complain less.” I still struggle to live that out. Complaining allows me to keep the focus on myself while if I really submit to God in prayer, my focus has to make a shift. Not as easy for me as I would like. That’s one of the reasons that daily Bible reading has to be a priority for me – I need God’s word to remind me of who I am and who He is.
Paul spends a lot of time in Romans 9-11 talking about Israel and their role in God’s plan. The Hebrew people were the ones God chose to reveal Himself through. Jesus was born and lived His life as a Jew and was the fulfillment of the long-prophesied Messiah. But many of the Jews missed who He was, even though they were students of Scripture. The fact that they missed Him didn’t negate the fact that God chose to work through them and still longs for them to recognize Jesus for who He really is.
I have the opportunity to oversee a lot of projects at New Hope. I love working through details and making plans and those plans always include contingency plans. Depending on the complexity of the project, I may have plan b, c and d ready to go, just in case. I recognize that there are so many things out of my control (like the weather) and so it’s a necessity for me to have backs ups. Just in case. But unlike me, God has no need for contingency plans. What He plans, happens. Always. As we look at Romans 11, that’s a really important piece for us to keep in mind.
Allowing Gentiles (non-Jews) into the family of believers was God’s plan from the beginning. Those of us that are not Jews are not God’s contingency plan because His original plan didn’t pan out. He didn’t create us with the idea that we would be kindling – He created us to be in relationship with Him just as He did the Jews. So, why did the plan have to be so elaborate?
I would never claim to have God and His plans all figured out, but what I do know is this: God made a plan to save us before He even created us; God makes promises that He always keeps; God’s desire is for all of us, no matter our race, background, circumstances, etc. to come to know His as our Savior. Somehow, all of those things are being accomplished because they are God’s plan. The complexity of God and His plans makes me in absolute awe of who He is.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach