Remember a long time ago (for those of you who were around a long time ago, like me) how popular model cars were? Frankly, I’m not sure they even exist any longer. But you know what I’m talking about, those models where all the parts were connected to a plastic tree and when you took the parts off there was a little plastic leftover tag on the part? It always messed up trying to connect the parts. And then there was the glue … it never seemed to work well or really hold the parts together. It probably goes without saying, but I was never really good at putting together model cars as a kid. To me, it was basically like buying a car but getting only each of the parts. It never quite came together well.
Our 18 year-old son wants to buy a used pickup truck. We told him if he earns a certain amount of money in his part-time job, we would meet the rest of the cost. It would probably disappoint him if when we make “good” on our commitment, instead of buying him a truck, we bought him all the parts of the truck, but disassembled. Getting all the parts of a truck (or even a model car) disassembled is not the same as getting the actual truck.
In life we sometimes feel like God gives us the disassembled parts rather than the whole in a situation. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
There are numerous examples of this throughout scripture, and I’d argue that the whole of scripture is itself an example. With that said, my reading through Mark 6 – 16, and Luke 1 stimulated in me a little deeper reflection on this truth. In Mark 14:12-16, we read:
On the first day [of the festival] of Unleavened Bread, when [as was customary] they sacrificed the Passover lamb, His disciples asked Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him; and say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ He will show you a large upstairs room, furnished and ready [with carpets and dining couches]; prepare [the supper] for us there.” The disciples left and went to the city and found everything just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
What I love about this passage in particular is … look at it … Jesus tells the disciples “There’s a guy that I have pre-ordained is going to be carrying a jar of water who will meet with you. Then when you get to the house, I have pre-ordained that the owner is going to have the room upstairs all set up, furnished and ready to go.” What’s so cool about this (and this is why I LOVE the Back to the Future movies) is that a nearly infinite number of precedent steps and events had to happen in each of just these two details in order to bring them to fruition. And then, think about the steps and events that had to happen to other people in order to bring these things about. No matter what point of view you take on whether God directly makes everything happen regardless of our free will or that God only indirectly reacts to the free will choices we make and redirects events to fit His will, it’s still amazing that He causes every detail to come to pass the way it needs to for His maximum glory and our maximum blessing.
And there’s the point … unlike how we probably view many of life’s events, as situations where God basically just throws a bunch of disassembled truck parts at us and says, “Go ahead and drive your truck,” my reflection this week shows far from that. When I look at this story, or even look at the Bible as a whole, it’s clear to me that there’s no disassembly required … or even involved … when it comes to God. He knows, thinks about, provides for, ordains, orchestrates, and lovingly (key word) carries out every minute and unimaginable detail to ensure His will will be done.
One profound example … when you consider there are over 300 prophecies in the Bible about Jesus, at least for me it makes my head spin. These are all facts foretold about Him that all came to pass. Not a single detail fell short regardless of how long before they were expressed. God told us in excruciating detail all the truths in advance about Jesus (because He knew beforehand) and then ensured that things lined up so that every prophecy would be proved true. Isaiah chapter 53 has 34 such prophecies on its own.
So why should we care? Just this …
If God has previously caused every miniscule detail to come to pass as He called it to, why would He not also be right this very second working out details in, through, and for us? In other words, regardless of the good, bad or not-sure circumstances we’re in, He is still in the midst, orchestrating and situating such that His maximum glory and our maximum blessing is the result. When we overlay onto that fact the very nature of God as LOVE, we can be assured that nothing is random, nothing is disorderly, nothing is meaningless, and nothing is out of His control. That’s incredibly comforting to me … I pray it is to you too.
God is not a frivolous God. He isn’t sitting above His creation scratching His head and wondering, “what the heck is going on? This isn’t how it was supposed to be!” Rather He’s sitting above creation, saying, “This (my loving will and plan for your life and My creation) is what is going on. This is how it’s supposed to be.” And He sees it all at once, knows the end from the beginning and loves you and loves me more than we can fathom. If that’s what it means for me to be out of control and to turn it over to Him … I’m glad I signed up. I pray if you haven’t, you soon will.
Our world seems irreparably jacked up. Well, it is. But it’s not outside of God’s will and God’s plan. Does that make it good? Well, yes and no. It’s horrible that life is routinely and repetitively disregarded by us humans and that it only seems to be going downhill. But somehow God understands and knows not just what is happening now, but what now will cause to happen later. And He’s in the middle of MAKING IT GOOD. I don’t know precisely how, but I know it’s true. The Bible is the evidence (hint: read the back of the book).
The pieces are assembled. We just don’t (yet) see it. The model is put together seamlessly, and the truck parts are together and it drives beautifully. There’s no disassembly required. Our job? Trust and know He’s assembled it and await the completion. I pray for all of us this week we choose to see what He allows us to see in the parts and the whole, and what we don’t see we just take on faith that it’s in process of being assembled.
Soli Deo gloria!