In all life’s uncertainty and change — what is God saying?
But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. Psalm 33:11 NLT
WE HAVE BECOME over-used to short-termism — unhealthy adaptation to a fast-changing world — which has infected all of life.
Partnership has become more normal than marriage. There is no ‘job for life’ and most people will experience redundancy and career changes. The kettle we buy today will be taken to the dump in a year or two. “Fast fashion” creates mountains of discarded fabric which, unlike cotton, doesn’t readily recycle.
Sometimes there IS a need to live one day at a time. For some people on the front line during the Covid crisis, it was just like that. But that’s what we would call a coping mechanism, not a strategy.
Away from the pandemic, we have endured governments publicising constant new initiatives which last for a year and quietly disappear; companies downsizing their workforce to improve the share value prior to takeover; roads patched repeatedly when resurfacing would have been a far better, less costly solution; and hospitals managed on bed occupancy occupancy (like a hotel) removing the resilience needed to cope with epidemics.
God doesn’t work this way. His timescale is longer… in fact, eternal. Unlike us, He is not influenced by short-lived trends.
Here’s a report on one of God’s plans that has stood firm from the beginning. This intention started with a promise given to Abraham, gained momentum by being proclaimed through the prophets, was given new impetus by Jesus — and then was worked out by the first Christians. Now it has come down to us.
Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. Acts 11:1 NLT
This was God’s purpose that knowing Him and the invitation to worship Him would be for ALL people. And it has been consistently fought by the ‘insider’ people. The Jews of Jesus’ time found, in His love without boundaries, a reason to hate Him. The new freedom of salvation by personal faith alone in the Reformation was fought with a restating of the doctrine of salvation only through (one particular) church. In our day in a church setting, we find social and cultural diversity challenging. We are naturally (rather than supernaturally) ‘birds of a feather’, more comfortable among other people who are socially similar. And it’s not only church treasurers who prefer to consolidate what we have — not give it away, and spread ourselves thin with mission.
But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever…
God’s intention to establish His just and balanced rule, the kingdom of God, is a very long-term plan. In fact, it IS His plan!
To follow God’s plan, our prayer requests for short-term needs need to be set in the context of the priority of God’s kingdom. The prayer the Lord taught us turns on the phrase: “Thy kingdom come!”
- That’s why every Christian and every church needs to come together in agreement with the prayer for revival. Revival in our communities — a turning to Jesus — is like a tide rising that floats all the boats in the harbour.
- Revival is the ‘big need’ that also answers all the little ones. The big need is the kingdom coming for people who enter into it in salvation and new life in Jesus, ready for Jesus’ return. And in turning to Him, our lives get sorted out and all kinds of other needs come right.
God’s long-term, stated purposes stand in sharp contrast to our ‘reactive living’ and short-term mind set. We should pray agreeing with what God is doing as a solution, rather than the requests of those overwhelmed by immediate concerns.
For a prayer based on this verse, go over to www.glowweobley.com and this page