I Didn’t Sign Up For This: What You Do When the Abnormal Becomes the New Normal – Part 4
August 30, 2020
- The unsuspecting Dream Team story
- Play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the back.
- Discern the magnitude and urgency of the moment.
- You can be beat. (Just showing up is not enough).
- “The goal is not to get back to normal but to get back to God”–Bishop Dale Bronner
- Discern the Context
- Distinguish between the things you can control and the things you can’t control.
What We Can Conclude from This
- What we call normal camouflages a spiritual reality.
- Here is that reality: we sit in the middle of a cosmic battle between good and evil.
- In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us what to look for as the culmination of this clash draws near.
- There is a clear Scriptural pattern in which natural disasters, large-scale global events, and socio-economic dishevel become clear signs that we are drawing closer to God’s normal.
- In this battle, we are both causalities of war and beneficiaries of the ultimate victor: Jesus.
- This should motive us to do two things:
- Brace for disruptions in our way of life
- Have confidence that in Jesus we have roots in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
- We were reminded last week that the church is in God’s hands.
- Not only is the church in His hands, but human history is in God’s hands.
- While human beings have free will, God shapes the course of human events in such a way that they will eventually culminate in a new heaven and a new earth.
- One of the most direct ways that God shapes human history is by making His authority accessible to humanity—even to people who do not serve Him (Romans 13:1-6)
- When human beings accept authority, particularly at its highest levels, they are putting themselves in God’s yard, where He is playing chess (Proverbs 21:1)
- Ironically, the pursuit of power outside of God places you directly under God’s control.
- This is why Paul places a special emphasis on praying for people in authority, particularly heads of state (I Timothy 2:1-2)
- Heads of state (often unknowingly) place themselves squarely in God’s domain and become God’s pawns by default:
- Pharaoh is warned by God (Genesis 12:17-20)
- God hardens Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:3-5)
- God raises Pharaoh up (Romans 9:17-18)
- God raises up Nebuchadnezzar to rule and oppress (Jeremiah 28:14)
- God stirs up Cyrus to authorize the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (Ezra 1:1-2)
- Even the democratic voting process is shaped by God (Proverbs 16:33)
- God shapes national and international policy, but not on our terms.
- He’s not a republican, a democrat, a third-party supporter, or an independent. He’s only on His side (Joshua 5:13-15)
- We should follow Joshua’s example and just surrender to the victor now (Proverbs 21:30-31)
- In our surrender, we are accountable to make choices consistent with the light we have, however much we have, and then ask for more light (I Corinthians 13:12; Ephesians 1:15-22)
© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2020