August 20, 2007
God has, over these years of journaling, used the simple things I write to stretch my thinking theologically. One area he has stretched me in is my understanding of his foreknowledge and what the realities are if this be true.
While I never really questioned God’s foreknowledge, I also never really thought that much about it. Not that I didn’t think it was cool that he had it, I just never stopped to think through what was all wrapped up in such.
In simple terms, for God to have foreknowledge, it means he knows what will happen before it happens. Nice, but, so what? What will be, will be, right?
No. What will be will be what God decides will be. The problem with God having all knowledge, including foreknowledge, is when one combines it (which one has to) with his all-powerfulness. If he has both all power and all knowledge, including all foreknowledge, it means he has total control. There is nothing He doesn’t know. There is nothing He can’t do. Governments seek this. Only God has it.
It also, however, means there is nothing that happens that he doesn’t have the power to stop from happening. This is where we become uncomfortable with God. It raises many questions as to how these two attributes of God actually work with his other attributes like love and mercy and kindness. It leads to the question: Why do bad things happen?
I don’t know the full answer to this question, at least not that I would declare as the answer. But I have a feeling the answer will prove to fit well with all his attributes.
So what does all this have to do with journaling?
For me, it has much to do with it. With this “with God” journaling format, God has the perfect set-up for demonstrating his foreknowledge. And with each demonstration, one’s faith in the rock beneath one’s feet grows. Here’s one example:
Six plus years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It came as a complete surprise. I thought I was just having a familiar tremor diagnosed – a tremor that runs in the family.
As I walked out of the clinic that day, my heart was racing. My life had just been permanently changed. There is no cure for Parkinson’s. It, as a friend said, is a slow death.
As I walked, I looked down at the book I “happened” to have brought along to read and that my hand was clenched around. The title: “Future Grace”. I smiled at God. He knew. And he knew what I would need to know. My future was in his hands. My future is all future grace. God knew what book he needed to prompt me to return to the house to get that morning.
As I drove home, I knew the first thing I needed to do was to read my journal for that day. I had become accustomed to finding things written from earlier years that were obviously written for future years. I had come to know a God who foreknows.
As I later opened my journal, the words from God written one year before, to the day, could not have been sweeter. Again, God knew. What I read that night, the day my future changed:
1Cr 16 v23
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
A need. The need.
When one sums up what is needed in life for life, when one reduces everything in life to the common denominator, one comes up with, is left with, grace.
I live because of grace. I work because of grace. I minister because of grace. I eat because of grace. I walk because of grace. I speak because of grace.
God is grace. God is gracious. God is full of grace to me. God gives much grace to me. There is nothing I am or have that is not of and from God’s grace.
If God is all and created all, then all that I am is of Him, of His grace. If all is of His grace, then of what do I have to boast? Only of Him.
Paul understood this. He starts and ends his letters with grace, with a grace blessing. There is no greater blessing than to be blessed with grace from God, His abundant grace.
I have known the grace of God. I have richly received of His grace. It has been abundantly supplied in many ways and in many times.
Lord, may Your grace continue to flow. May it be poured out on these ministries in Russia.
May Your grace be known. May Your name be blessed. (end)
The above truths were the truths I needed most to hear. The truths that surround God’s grace are powerful to the one who feels he has just lost grace. The truths were still true.
And this God who so obviously knew about the Parkinson’s also obviously chose to not stop it. There seems to be two conclusions one can come to with this – either God is cruel, which fits nothing I know about him, or he is working something for a far greater eternal good than the temporal sufferings of Parkinson’s will be. This fits the God of my journal.
As I reread these truths now, it is amazing to me how exhaustive and extensively I wrote about grace, a year before I had any clue about what was coming.
Because of a time spent with God on a day that seemingly had no special significance, and because I wrote it down, when the flood came, not only was it a solid rock I found myself standing on, it was one without cracks, without a place for any sand to be found.
These words and others that God gave that were written in earlier years for the days and weeks of adjusting to the new realities were so strong and solid and broad, I continued to find nothing but rock beneath my feet. While I do not know how I will handle the future, so far I can honestly say I have not been angry at God or doubted his goodness or questioned his purposes. I have asked a lot of questions, but they are not foundational questions. The foundation was set in place long before.
The reality? I am no super Christian. I simply have a record of God’s workings that are irrefutable that I regularly bring to my remembrance. It’s the rock beneath my feet.