FUTILITY: Does anything I do really matter?
I didn’t notice the commotion until a gentleman approached my table and cautioned me to move away from the window. As I looked outside, sure enough, multiple officers faced the adjacent store with sizable guns drawn. Inside the store, an armed robbery was taking place. As I collected my things and moved to a table in a safer location, I observed the patrons around me. Some were ducking, crawling, making phone calls, panicking…As I entered into prayer for the situation and all involved, I was reminded of two things: (1) Futility is eminent in the world and (2) the great gift of salvation by faith through Jesus Christ dissolves the fear of death.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
A personal motto of mine is, “Never ready, always prepared.” In the case of the event last week I just described, I was not ready for it… But, in a sense, I was prepared. Lessons God has taught me along the way have prepared me to face the futility that exists in the world. Here’s an important example:
In and of myself, I have no power to keep myself alive. In other words, my life, my mortality is not in my own hands. A bullet very well could have come through the window I was sitting by and struck me fatally. Thank God it did not. In this moment, be sure that the breath in your lungs, the electricity stimulating your heart, and the water lubricating your cells is present because of Jesus.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
When it comes to preparation, it is important to face futility rather than surrender to it. If we surrender to futility and embrace hopelessness, we question the goodness of God. If we allow futility to produce humility, we affirm the goodness of God by faith.
Now that we’ve addressed the question, does anything I do really matter?, let’s take a look at a few aspects within the DNA of preparation.
FAMILY: Making sense of God’s story…
I was sitting in church recently, listening to the Pastor talk about the repentance in the city of Nineveh (recounted in the book of Jonah).
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
As I contemplated this, it struck me that God had prepared to bring “disaster” to Nineveh. Yet, because of the city-wide repentance, the city was spared. On a personal level, I was convicted to “turn away” from my own evil ways. Then, in God-like fashion, the Holy Spirit gave me a vision which brought me to a scripture:
The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
With the Lord, there is always more going on that meets the eye. As a family of believers who are daily attempting to make sense of the story God is telling, I saw the Body like a dark city riddled with unforgiveness, offense, and judgement. But, as we began to repent, our evil ways were “rolled up like a scroll” and replaced with the light of compassion, honor, and gratitude.
Be encouraged, God has prepared all things through Christ for us.
- We have a God who patiently waits for us, that He may show mercy (Isaiah 30:18).
- We have a God who prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies (Psalm 23:5).
- We have a God who has prepared a chosen, eternal family for those who believe in Him (Galatians 4:4-5).
FAITH: Signed, sealed, delivered…
At the core, the DNA of preparation is faith. As believers in the midst of futility and surrounded by family (whether known or unknown), faith is our foundation, what unites us, the choice we have been given to make.
For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? …it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham.
To prepare for your day, your business, your ministry, your church, your family, and your future, faith is required.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
To foster the faith God has assigned to you, pursue wisdom, stand on the promises of God, seek His face, and go after the Kingdom. These activities will prepare you for flying bullets, faith trials, and the fires of life.
FOREVER: Are you prepared?
God is Lord of preparation. Not only has He made all creation, He designed it to last forever. As you make sense of God’s story, your place in it, and the destiny of all things, remember that Love was prepared for you and you for Love. The big-picture plan is to be with Jesus forever; let’s prepare for that!
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
As we prepare for the eternal reign of Christ, there is much to do in the world; yet it starts in our own hearts. God has promised that the reign of futility will come to an end, the family of God will be wholly restored and united, and faith will prevail forever.
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.