Do not be surprised as you navigate 2020 if you find yourself making the following statement:
“I just wish God would make it definitive and clear what He wants me to do; or at least let me know why He is doing this (allowing this) in my life.”
On one hand, the Lord has made many of the things He desires for us to do abundantly clear in the Bible; for example, forgive, love, encourage, persevere, give. But these guidelines for living are not typically what folks are talking about when they share the request (demand?) above. We (for I must include myself) want the spiritual life to be plainly and clearly understood, especially as it applies to us as individuals and the decisions we need to make.
However, maybe God needs to keep some of those things “secret” on purpose to ensure other elements of “the big picture” (which are often for our great benefit) are accomplished.
A friend sent me a book called The Unseen Realm (Michael S. Heiser) subtitled, Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. It has been interesting to read. I was especially intrigued by a section about how God had to keep His salvation plans hidden from Satan so that Satan and the powers of darkness would make choices and take actions that would lead to the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Old Testament is full of snippets of information that, when pieced together and combined with hindsight, reveal the Messiah as he actually would appear. But nowhere in one place in the Old Testament do all the elements of the salvation plan get presented in complete and stark clarity. The references to Messiah also had applicability in the lives of real men of the time. And all of those verses and prophecies seemed to point to a man – an incredible man but a mere man nonetheless – who would come from the lineage of David, rescue Israel and establish a kingdom on earth. Even when Jesus lived on earth it was like He was “hidden in plain sight” (except in private conversations with His disciples who did not understand what they were being told).
So why all the secrecy? Because if the rulers in the kingdom of darkness had recognized what was going on, Paul tells us they never would have manipulated man to kill Jesus — and the plan would have been foiled. “None of the rulers of this age [including spiritual rulers] understood it [the “secret wisdom of God], for it they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:8)
I guess part of my pondering as I read is that God did not obscure or keep these things secret because He was malevolent or enjoyed watching even His own children not fully understand what was going on. Quite the opposite, these were acts of love to ensure the full plan was executed for the sake of our salvation.
So I find myself wondering what all is going on behind the scenes in the unseen world that might require God not letting His intentions and plans be fully seen because then the enemy would not blindly do his part, a part that is needed for the full plan to come to fruition? And that is oddly comforting because it reminds me that God is in control.