It Was Fitting
For it was fitting that he……in bringing many sons to glory should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.(Hebrews 2:10)
The death of Christ was the will and work of God the Father. Isaiah writes, “We esteemed him striven, smitten by God….It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.”(Isaiah 53:4,10) Yet surely as God the Father saw the agony of His Beloved Son and the wickedness that brought Him to the cross; He did not delight in those things in themselves (viewed through narrow lens). Sin in itself, and the suffering of the innocent, is abhorrent to God.
Nevertheless, according to Hebrews 2:10, God the Father thought it was fitting to perfect the Pioneer of our salvation through suffering. God willed what He abhorred. He abhorred it in the narrow-lens view, but not in the wide-angle view of eternity. When the universality of things was considered, the death of the Son of God was seen by the Father as a magnificent way to demonstrate His righteousness.(Romans 3:25,26) and bring His people to glory(Hebrews 2:10) and keep the angels praising Him forever and ever(Revelation 5:9-13)
Therefore, when I say that the sovereignty of God is the foundation of His happiness, I do not ignore or minimize the anger and grief God can express against evil. But neither do I infer from this wrath and sorrow that God is a frustrated God who cannot keep His creation under control. He has designed from all eternity, and is infallibly forming with every event, a magnificent mosaic of redemptive history. The contemplation of this mosaic(with both its dark and bright tiles) fills His heart with joy.
And if our Father’s heart is full of deep and unshakable happiness, we may be sure that when we seek our happiness in Him, we will find a Father whose heart is so full of joy that it spills over onto all those who are thirsty.
Because we are finite humans, that is we have a beginning and an end(at least as far as this life), we tend to view things from the short view. We know that as believers, we are eternal beings with eternal life(John 3:15,16) but often we forget that especially during times of suffering. We have great company in this for as we read the Bible we find that most humans wrestle with this. One only has to listen to the question of the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus to see how even those who walk with God miss the eternal view.(Acts 1:6)
If you are experiencing a difficult time it’s easy for the finite view to cloud your eternal view. It’s obvious that we are in difficult times. The effects of the virus seem to be dragging on and on. Life is still interrupted and appears to be getting even more challenging. Many are focused on the now and are frustrated because this crisis isn’t ending now. Many are confused, afraid, angry and tired of waiting until everything gets back to “normal”. Sometimes even Christians lose sight of the eternal plans of God. I think perhaps the best example of the conflict between the narrow view and the eternal view is that which occurs at the passing of loved ones. As we go through the journey of loss and grief, the pain and suffering feel so powerful and so permanent. We know that the voice and presence of that person will be heard and felt no more, at least in this life. At this time the narrow view tells us that it’s over, our lives have forever changed. I remember sitting beside my mother in her last day here. I freely confess that my selfish heart, gripped by the narrow view wanted to keep her here. After all, I needed her more than heaven. Sitting in that room the narrow view(having my mom with me) and the eternal view(mom being with Jesus, pain free) collided. I thank God that He opened my heart to the eternal view and I realized(these are not just words but reality) that though sorrow would last for the night(my days on this earth) joy would come in the morning(when I step into heaven) and the joy of the morning would eclipse the sorrow of the night. The eternal view is the only place where we can find peace and joy. Paul said,
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
1 Corinthians 15:19
Our hope is an eternal hope, not controlled by this world nor our circumstances but by the Sovereign Lord of the Universe who has chosen to redeem us by the blood of Jesus and share eternity with Him in glory.
I don’t know how or when or even if this crisis will pass. As a history student, I know this world has experienced many calamities and somehow is still existing. I know it recovered from the rebellion of Satan, the fall of man, the flood and has survived all the evil that has occurred. In recent history, I know we survived the dark days of WWII and the Holocaust and the Bubonic Plague and a host of other major world shaking events. I know according to the Bible we will survive the Great Tribulation and the reign of the Antichrist and God will establish His kingdom forever. I know that those of our loved ones who have passed before us(those who knew Christ as Savior) will join us in eternity and we will be kept by God throughout eternity. If you are struggling with the narrow view let me offer some words of counsel. First, recognize that you are not alone in this. Second, that God is with you and is working on your behalf. Third, the Holy Spirit has come to bring comfort while we wait for the eternal to happen. Ask God to show you things in the light of His eternal plan for you.
I’ll conclude with this. One thing I’ve learned and am learning is to look at things long term and ask myself some questions. These are the questions:
Will this be the same 10 years from now and will it matter enough to impact my life?
If this is a test, am I passing it or will I have to take the class again? Is the delay because Satan is interfering or am I not ready for the answer? In light of eternity how important is this? What is God saying to me about this?
We will get beyond this immediate crisis, whether life will ever be the same is questionable but our constant is Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever and He hold us and our eternal future in His hands.
Dr. John Thompson