Endorsements have been coming in for my next book, Waiting for Wonder, which is on schedule to release in November. As I was reviewing the manuscript today, I came across this this little bit that I thought might be encouraging to you:
WHO IS THIS GOD?
Who is this God who allows our plans to become like sand, running through our fingers? Who is he who stands by while everything we tried to build crumbles around us?
He is the God who builds.
We work so hard. We labor, we scheme, we work, we plan, we scrape and toil. But sometimes, often, life goes awry anyway. The lives we live are not the lives we planned.
But sometimes the lives we planned must die before we can live the lives God plans for us.
Sarai learned that the hard way.
So did Paul.
The New Testament tells us that Paul built for himself the life of a respected Pharisee. His letter to the Philippians describes it: “I was circumcised on the eighth day. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews. With respect to observing the Law, I’m a Pharisee. With respect to devotion to the faith, I harassed the church. With respect to righteousness under the Law, I’m blameless” (Phil 3:5-6).
But after a single encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus (see Acts 22), all that came crumbling down. Paul lost the carefully constructed life he had built for himself. God built him instead a life with meaning. A life that changed the world. Paul’s God-built life still affects us to this day, thousands of years later. Had Paul’s plan worked out, he would have been nothing but a long-forgotten Pharisee. But the life God built for him blessed the entire world. He became a man who spread the gospel throughout the known world of his time. Thousands were saved because of him. He became a man who would write thirteen of the twenty-seven of books of the New Testament. We read his work today. Paul’s life is still changing lives. He mattered.
In Philippians 3:7-9, he went on: “These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ. But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ and be found in him.”
That’s the kind of life to which God is calling all of us. He calls us to a life that matters in the kingdom of God. It may not look like it when everything crumbles around us, when our towers tumble, when the diagnosis is grim. But Sarai’s diagnosis was grim too. She was infertile and would remain so for decades to come. God built her life into one that changed the world in the great workings of the kingdom.
He will build yours too.
He is the God who builds.
So when plans go awry, when life falls apart, let God judge. Let God choose. Let God build.
Wait for Him. He will change your world, and because of that, you will change the world around you.
Unless it is the Lord who builds the house,
the builders’ work is pointless.