On God’s plans and the hope of eventide.
I have been thinking a lot about this year and how to make sense of it all (which, I would say, is largely impossible). As I wrote on Saturday, this season of heaviness and year of adversity is something to which each one of us has been “appointed.” (1 Thes 3:3) That is not merely something said to inspire or invigorate — I truly believe that you and I have been made to endure 2020 precisely because God has appointed us to endure it. As it is his prerogative to reign over the seasons which operate in their due course (Ecc 3:1–8), so it is his providence which rules over all our days, whether they be good or ill. (Ecc 7:14) Ours is a sovereign God whose plans are always realized and always come together.
This is one of the predominant truths with which I have been forced to reckon lately, primarily because of my pastor, Dr. Jim Blalock, and his recent sermon, “God Has No Plan-B.” Taking Psalm 33 as his text, Dr. Blalock expresses, perhaps, the most resounding truth we could take to heart in a year like this — and one which is also among the hardest to believe in year like this. Namely, that God has always and only had a Plan-A. He has no “Plan-B.” He has never had the need for one, for a contingency in case his primary plans are upset or thwarted or frustrated. He is entirely unfamiliar with such a concept. Even in the darkest hour of the deepest agony, God’s plans move forward according to his sovereign authority. Indeed, the Scriptures were given precisely for that reason: to make us certain about an eternity that has already been written. About a future that is already planned out. (Eph 1:4; 1 Pt 1:20; Rv 13:8) And his plans never fail.
Such is the church’s message. Chad Bird puts it eloquently when he writes:
We are not the Church of Chicken Little but the Church of Jesus Christ. We do not run around screaming that “the sky is falling.” There is no panic in heaven. Jesus has no sweaty armpits as he surveys our world. Over the chaos of this world reigns the King of kings, Jesus the Resurrected, before whom every knee will eventually bow, whether they like it or not . . . 2020 is a great year for the church, amidst the cacophony of craziness, to focus in on the voice of Jesus.
Our King has never, not even for a nanosecond, become fretted because of how this year has unfolded. He has never wrung his hands in anxiousness. He is not nervous about the future and how it might impact his Second Advent. Rather, his plan is right on schedule and it is perfect. (Ps 33:11; Is 55:8–9)
Yes, even in 2020 that remains true.
Yes, notwithstanding how Tuesday goes that remains true.
Indeed it is true: God’s plans have not been upset or upended by anything that has happened this year, and, to be sure, that will remain true regardless which political party comes out victorious on Tuesday. The in-breaking of God’s kingdom into our world is not contingent on a particular candidate’s election. I hasten to reproduce Chad’s words which, again, are so resonant for this moment:
Whatever happens on Tuesday, Tuesday will still be a day when Christ is risen. Your sins will still be forgiven. Your life will still be redeemed. Death will still be conquered.
Cast your vote with an air of bold and defiant levity. Don’t take yourself, or this election, so seriously. No string of unfortunate events can stop Christ’s beating heart of mercy. No politician can un-Easter our Lord.
Jesus is King, now and always. And his is a kingdom of grace and truth and righteousness.