In the Christian life, it’s a win, even when it isn’t.
Every year, two Superbowls occur, back to back. The one on Sunday night features players locked in mortal combat. Reputations and rankings are on the line, not to mention careers, and the hopes of fan bases that number in the millions. Much of the outcome will rest on the shoulders of two opposing coaches who are doing their best to make all the right calls.
The Superbowl that occurs on Monday morning happens at the office water cooler. This time there are no players, no risks, no sweat, no injuries. But there are dozens of “coaches” making play calls concerning what should have been done in the game the night before.
We human beings don’t just second guess each other. After every hotly contested political race, every severe personal setback, every natural catastrophe, pandemic, or war, we wonder if God made the best choice, or if He knows what he’s doing. It’s a literal anxiety fest for people who are prone to worry. We understand theologically that God never fails, and as the crowd said at the time of Jesus, “Behold, He has done all things well.”
When the Lord ascended, He sat down on the right hand of God (Mk. 16:19), the place of all authority, in heaven and on earth (Mt. 28:18). What does He begin to do with His unlimited authority? He begins executing the will of God with single minded determination, as He did while on the earth—”I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29)—except now He does it as a glorified man whose purview is universal and timeless. None can resist Him, nor overthrow His counsel.
It is nerve wracking, therefore, when we see Him in Revelation 6, doing everything wrong…at least according to human opinion.
When He opens the seals of the scroll, whatever He releases (except the white horse, which I believe is the gospel1), seems to be negative. The widespread violence, famine, and death, martyrdom of the saints, a great earthquake—how could any of it be good?
Yet follow the trail of these opened seals and their contents, and like stepping stones, they lead somewhere. Jesus has executed the will of God, both allowing, and determining unpleasant things until the trail either escorts mankind directly into the New Jerusalem, or into the lake of fire. Each vision, each sign, each seal, trumpet, plague, and bowl, leads unerringly to a destiny–one for the redeemed, the other for the unredeemed.
He can’t miss, even when it looks like He’s losing.
A football coach would never want to operate on this level of wisdom. What kind of winning strategy allows the other side to score touchdowns? In a way, being on such a team would mean you’re no longer affected by the appearance of defeat.
The unspoken question: what about the adversities that dot your own life?
God the Father unconditionally trusts His Son to execute all things throughout history unto the accomplishment of His will. If this is so, that same Son is qualified to steward and arrange, allow or determine, the affairs of your one small life. If anything, He is severely overqualified to do so.
Meanwhile, the cheering continues.
- See my post Troubling Canvas