We should never underestimate how much God can reveal to us when our Bibles are open.
Years ago I read book about the great evangelist Billy Graham and his unique relationship with 11 Presidents of the United States. These Presidents were men with access to the CIA, FBI, Satellite data, NASA, and University research.
Yet this didn’t stop them from asking Billy Graham some surprising questions:
President Eisenhower: "How do I know if I’ll go to heaven?"
President Kennedy: "Do you believe in the Second coming?"
President Johnson: "Will I see my parents in heaven?"
Each of my three children could have easily answered these questions from the age of eight – not because they were smarter, but because they had grown up with the Scriptures. They knew “ …the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29)
God’s Bigger Picture
The Bible reveals far more than we sometimes give it credit for. And this is true with regard to his plan for history too.
Over the years I’ve often heard the question, “…why did God create us knowing we would reject him.” Normally my response is, “Didn’t you, as a parent, know that your children would sometimes hurt or disrespect you? Why then did you choose to be a parent?” Answer? You do it because you love them.
But this answer misses something profound in God’s plan. God doesn’t just love us, he wants us to really know him—to know the full depths of his character.
We see glimpses of this in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:5-9)
From Comfort to Glory
Why did God create humans, knowing they would turn out evil and cause him so much grief? Why did he come up with a plan that would require his own Son to die such a wretched death?
It was “…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
More than anything, God wants to show us for all eternity—not just his grace, nor the riches of his grace—but the incomparable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
God’s plan exposes the depth of our evil hearts. It also shows us how utterly gracious God can be the face of such evil.
In my plan (to bypass this fallen creation), the highest goal is to maximise pleasure and minimize pain. God, however, has an infinitely higher good: his own glory. He, as Louis Berkhof puts it, “…applies His knowledge to the attainment of His ends in a way which glorifies Him Most.”
My plan could never reveal the full extent of who God is. It could never reveal his awesome holiness, his boundless grace, or his incomparable mercy. It could never imagine a God who would have Christ die for us while were enemies.
The Glory of God’s Future’s Past
But the future God has prepared for us is founded on these realities. Think of the massive difference between being birthed in the new creation, with a perfect body, having never sinned and suffered (i.e. my idea of history), vs. waking up in the coming ages knowing that you were once dead in your sins; that you were once a slave of Satan and an object of wrath.
It's the difference from moving from black and white to colour, or from two dimensions to three.
After all the pain and suffering, when we have been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun; as we continue to look into Jesus beautiful face, we will see the hands of Jesus scared by nails and his side pierced for our sins. And we will know that the only reason we are there and not forsaken in utter darkness is because of his incomparable grace celebrated moment by moment in the coming ages.
We will never stop giving praise for his wise plan which shows the awesome wisdom of our God.