"The Realities of Forever"
God works according to design, or rather, He always acts in coordination with His "eternal purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11). Creation began by His Son, continues accordingly, and will culminate when He "gathers together in one all things in Christ" (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:17; Ephesians 1:10).
This truth has tremendous significance regarding the Bible's revelation of God's being, nature, and ability. All things done by our Heavenly Father must fit into His overarching determination to honor and reveal the Lord Jesus. The specifics, as it were, must align with the general. Thus, when our Heavenly Father does anything, He must act in a manner that flows with the current of His eternal purpose as it relates to Christ. This involves a wisdom beyond all imagining, especially in light of the existence of angelic and human beings to whom God gave the freedom to exercise choices that do not always align with the Divine purpose. How does He coordinate all things together in a creation that presently "lieth in wickedness"? (I John 5:19). How do trillions of moments, events, blessings, calamities, and actions by angels and people all somehow serve to fulfill the purposes of One who does not merely move all things as merely pawns on a chessboard? How does our Heavenly Father "work all things after the counsel of His own will" when all things do not presently correlate to His will? (Ephesians 3:11; I Kings 13:21-22). How does He do what He does? The question drives us to our knees and faces in awed, reverent, and even fearful wonder that a Being such as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus can even exist. Or that He can coordinate all things for the fulfillment of His Christ-exalting purpose. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).
The sublime matter we consider also greatly affects our prayers. God must answer them all in a manner that aligns with His eternal purpose. For example, the way in which He responds to our request for this day's bread must fit with ultimate determinations much larger than the morsels of food we will consume. Specifically answered prayers must align with the general plan and purpose. This helps us to understand why prayers are answered, and also why prayers are unanswered. As the Apostle John declared, "And this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And we know that if He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14-15). The "according to His will" refers not merely to the matter of the moments in our lives, but also the realities of forever that guide God's heart and hand in all things. He cares deeply about the specifics of each of our particular issues, to the degree that He number the hairs of our head (Matthew 10:30). However, the fulfillment of His eternal purpose in Christ most benefits us, and all. Our Father thus acts accordingly, and answers prayers accordingly.
After arising from our knees and faces, we do well to open our Bibles to better learn and understand God's eternal purpose. This will enable us to more likely pray in accordance with His will, and more likely experience the blessing of answered prayers. Or, in those times when our requests seem unanswered, we may better understand that our Father must stay His hand in order to execute and coordinate the realities of forever. We wouldn't want Him to act in any other way, and we can be sure that He never will...
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
Weekly Memory Verse
Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
(II Thessalonians 2:16-17)