Here's the thing about predicability. It's not predictable. You can never really predict when something is going to happen. You can't predict how someone is going to handle a situation, when the next deal is going to drop, what the doctor's report will be, when the company is being sold or how long a loved one will survive. We just don't know. I think at a logical level we have embraced this fact but we often fail to live this truth out in our every day lives. We walk around stressed. We fret over the outcome of a conversation, we worry that our jobs are in jeapordy, we lose sleep over our next doctor's appointment, we spend our days in panic mode trying to pinpoint what's "unpinpointable" (I'm pretty sure I just made that word up).
Here's the good news. If I just described you, you're not alone. I certainly just described myself from time to time and likely just described many others who are reading this. While there are so many things that are "unpinpointable" there are some truths about life and God that are very "pinpointable", things that are very predictable.
1. God's faithfulness isn't based on our faithfulness. That is really good news! Romans 3:3 says, "What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?" God's predictablity isn't based on our predictablity. Even when we are all over the map, up one minute and down the next, God stays true. I relate it to the wild journey of raising teenagers. The most effective parenting is done when parents don't respond to the highs and lows of their teenagers. When you realize that teenagers can sometimes be up and then down in a matter of minutes for no apparent reason you begin to see the value of staying true. That's God in our lives. He stays true regardless of our behavior. He steady when we're waivering.
2. God is on-time. Isaiah 40:31 says, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Following Jesus isn't about things happening on our timeline. Too often we unfairly match our faithfulness with God's timing. We assume that there is a direct coorleation between our faithfulness and God's timing. We buy into the thought that when we do what God wants, He'll do what we want. While God does desire to bless us, His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, His timing isn't always our timing. What Isaiah assures us of isn't our perfect timing but rather God's perfect timing and His ability to sustain us until His timing comes through.
3. God is in control. Daniel 2:21 says, "He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." Sometimes we easily forget that the God who breathed life into your lungs and spins the world in orbit is the same God that desires to be in control of our everyday lives. Why would we not yield full control to this type of power?
Pause for a moment and really consider your qualifications against God's. Consider God's Words to Job in Job 38:4-11, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?"
4. God is moving. Never forget that God is on the move. He is moving in your life in ways that you may never percieve. He is moving in those situations that you feel have stalled. He is moving behind the scenes, where the darkness appears to have taken over. I love the passage in Genesis that speaks of this idea. Genesis 1:2 says, "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Think for a moment about those, "formless and empty" parts of your life and remember that God is moving.
There are countless areas of life that are unpredicatble and "unpinpointable" but God is not one of them. He is here. He is solid. He is steady. He is predictable.
Below are the words I shared at my father's funeral 3 years ago today. These words ring more true today than ever. Legacy matters.
"As I reflected on the words that I would say in this moment, my mind was filled with the memories of a father who left me no shortage of stories to tell and examples to recall and to pattern my life after. I suppose I could tell some of those stories to you this afternoon and you would walk away with a better picture of who my dad was, but ultimately, the best way to understand who someone really is, is to observe the impact that he or she made on the lives of those around them and my dad impacted the people around him.
My dad was a big believer in discipline. Growing up in my house there were no timeouts or counting to three or questions like, “Was that a wise choice?”. You knew instantly when you did something wrong because you got whipped. And if the offense occurred while dad was at work mom simply said the words, “You just wait until your father gets home”. The day before dad passed away I saw one of those little cartoon blurbs on Facebook that said, “My parents spanked me as a child and I now suffer from a psychological condition known as ‘Respect for Others”. That summed up my dad’s philosophy on parenting. But respect for others wasn’t just something that he told us about, it was something he modeled for us. Dad treated everyone with respect and love.
Although my dad was a man of few words he modeled for his sons what a husband and a father looked like. He modeled for me a life of servanthood as he pampered and catered to my mom. He demonstrated what it meant to be a patient husband. Mom seldom did the dishes, she never shoveled or scraped snow from the sidewalks or car windshields. He always volunteered to clean the bathroom, take out the trash, sweep the carpet, dust the furniture, etc. My dad took care of my mom in every way possible. It’s that example that my wife will attest that I’m still working on but I believe that if I could treat my wife with even a fraction of the respect and love that my dad treated my mom with, I would be an amazing husband.
My dad modeled for me how to be a father. The attention that he paid to us as his sons, the countless school projects that he helped us squeeze out at the last minute, the time he spent showing us how to fix everything from A to Z. He modeled what it meant to not only pay attention to his kids but really focus on them and to pass along his knowledge to us.
The way that my dad treated his mother-in-law, my grandmother, was one of extreme patience. He demonstrated not only patience, but love and respect and dignity to the mother of his wife. Over the last week since dad’s passing, grandma has said on more than one occasion, “I loved him, he loved me and we loved each other.” That certainly summed up their relationship.
I want you to understand this afternoon that my father’s legacy will live on, it will live on in my life and in the lives of my brothers and our sons and daughters. But you also have an opportunity to carry on his legacy because ultimately my dad was patterning his life after the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.
His love and patience and faithfulness that have been highlighted here today are straight out of God’s Word, Paul says in Galatians,“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” That is my father’s legacy.
During the last few moments of my dad’s earthly life as mom, my brothers and I and are wives were gathered around his bedside he modeled one final act of faithfulness for us. He demonstrated for us how we’re to finish the race. He had been motionless for an hour or so and just moments before he took his last breath he simply raised his left hand straight into the air towards Heaven, lowered it back down and then fell asleep.
Church I believe with all my heart that at that moment he was beginning to see the face of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was at that moment that he heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”