God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? -Numbers 23:19 ESV
Two perspectives exist in the life of a Christian, the eternal perspective and the here-and-now perspective. God knows everything and we know only what we see. God is sovereign, yet we have free will. God doesn’t change His mind, yet we’re instructed to pray. One will superseding the other. One reality subject to another. Meaningless in one is given meaning in the other.
We are in submission to God, not the other way around. We know a little, but we don’t know it all. We don’t know enough. Certainly not enough to wave around our God’s Will Barometer. People clearly go against God and it doesn’t seem like anything happens from it.
One story that comes to mind is when the Israelites demanded a king…
The here-and-now perspective: God knew that their asking was them blatantly rejecting Him. He told Samuel to warn them that a king will only be out for his own interests and end up treating them unfairly. Despite the warnings, they still wanted a king. Their only authority under God was a judge. Samuel was the judge, but he was old so his sons were taking over some responsibilities. The people wanted someone who would be good at leading them in their wars. They continued to ask, so God had Samuel anoint Saul as king. Saul seemed like an obvious choice because he was good-looking and much taller than everybody else. He seemed like the best candidate to lead them in their wars. He was more visually appealing than an old man and God’s promises.
The eternal perspective: Jesus was set to be born through a royal bloodline. Up to that point, there was no royalty. The warning about a king being “only out for his own interest” wasn’t a big deal to the Israelites because Samuel’s sons were that way with them already. Saul appeared to be the perfect choice–the luck of timing and provision, but something bigger was going on…had been going on the whole time…before time. Some say Saul was about 30-years-old when he became king. That means God chose Saul at least 30 years before He became king, long before the Israelites asked for him. We know this because Saul’s name means ‘asked for.’
Live long enough to start chasing milestones to the cause, to cause, to cause. Consider the sovereign plan and let your thoughts go further and further back. You’ll never reach the origination of God’s ideas. Life unfolds in real time, that’s our perspective. It’s all laid out in completion, that’s God’s perspective.
We choose according to what we want–free will–but God’s reality, His will, supersedes ours. God is omniscient. He is eternally ahead of you and eternally behind you. Nothing has been or will be done that can mess up His plan. Even blatant rejection plays a role because His plan is our salvation. This gives us something to hold on to during the stormy confusion. Hold on to who God is and let it ground you during the roller coaster ride of uncertainty. God is not uncertain. He’s the one who gets the last word.
So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. -1 Peter 5:10-11