For The Truth

Monday, January 12, 2015

God Is on the Move, Guy M. Richard

When I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, my home was situated just below an extinct volcano that was appropriately called "Arthur's Seat" because it resembled a very large saddle. Several times each year, a dense fall would cover this mountain completely and shield it from view. On those days, I would wake up and look out my window, and the mountain would not be there–or so it appeared. But even though I could not see Arthur's seat, I knew that the mountain was still there. It had not gone away, despite the fact that I could not see it.

Many times in the Christian life, God appears to be invisible. We cannot see Him. We cannot see what He is doing. The fog roles in; the storm clouds gather; and they shield Him completely from our view.

That is precisely where the creatures in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are at the beginning of the story. The White Witch has seized control of Narnia and has magically imposed winter. She has terrorized Narnian inhabitants by turning many into stone and by putting a stop to Christmas. To make matters worse, Aslan is nowhere to be found. He is silent. He is hidden from view. And yet, in the midst of all this, the Narnians find hope in the reminder that they share with another: Aslan is on the move. This reminder helps them hold fast even through the most difficult circumstances when Aslan is silent and seemingly far off.

When we find ourselves in the midst of difficult circumstances, when God is silent and hidden from our view, and we cannot see what He is doing, we need the same reminder that God really is on the move. He is at work. Even if we cannot see it, the invisible hand of God is moving and working behind the scenes, bringing His perfect purposes to pass in our lives.

Luke 2:1 – 2 gives us one such reminder. In this familiar passage, God's invisible hand is working in and through ordinary people and events to bring Joseph, Mary, and Jesus (still in the womb) to Bethlehem in order to fulfill Micah 5:2, which states that the Christ child is to be born in Bethlehem. I find it fascinating that God chooses not to appear to Joseph and Mary in a dream or by way of an angel to tell them to leave Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem. He did both of those things previously with Joseph and Mary, when He revealed to them that Mary would have a child by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20; 1:26 – 38). But He does not do either here. Instead, here in Luke 2, in order to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem so that His Christ can be born in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, God uses a pagan king's calling for the inhabitants of his kingdom to be registered.

God is at work today, just as He was in Luke 2. He really is on the move even when we cannot see what He is doing. Be encouraged.

Dr. Guy M. Richard is senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Gulfport, Mississippi, and author of The Supremacy of God in the Theology of Samuel Rutherford.

This article appears as the weekend devotional for January 10 – 11, on page 42, in the January 2015 addition of Ligonier Ministries' Tabletalk.