Saturday, December 12, 2015

Just Do It

Everybody knows it. It’s been Nike’s slogan since 1988. It resonates, and that’s why it’s lasted this long. ‘God helps those who help themselves’, people are fond of saying.

Redneck translation: Git ’er done.

But generally speaking, when God sets out to accomplish something significant, he does not “just do it”.

He could, of course. After all, when God created our universe, he did not call upon angelic consultants. He sought nobody’s buy-in. He simply spoke it all into being. He had no need of a second opinion. He never does.

But there were no humans then. Since we arrived on the scene, God rarely acts unilaterally with respect to mankind, either corporately or individually.

He could. But he doesn’t.
  • Before he gave Adam a wife, he orchestrated the circumstances so that Adam would recognize something was missing. He waited to provide a partner for him until Adam had first perceived his own need. He did not simply act.
  • God made Abraham and Sarah wait 25 years and observe the utter failure of all their own efforts to produce an heir to his promises before he brought Isaac into the world. He could have just done it, but he didn’t.
  • Rebekah, the wife God miraculously provided for Isaac, was initially barren. Why? It was clear God intended to make a great nation out of Isaac. Why did he not simply get on with the inevitable? And yet ... he didn’t. Isaac had to pray for Rebecca to conceive. God didn’t need Isaac’s buy-in, surely. But he waited for it anyway.
I could make this list very long indeed, and you can surely make it much longer. Israel in the desert. Samson. Hannah. Even Jabez.

He brought them all to the same place and the same realization: There is something specific you need and only God can provide it. You can’t “just do it” yourself no matter how hard you try. There is only one answer here.

God knows exactly what we need long before we have it figured out. If he chose to, he could give us the desires of our hearts before we even ask for them.

But if he did, how many of us would recognize that the good things we receive are the gifts of God, not merely something we have earned or lucked into? How many would be conscious of God’s presence? How many would seek him out? How many of us would ever know him better? How many of us would really value and appreciate his gifts and give thanks for them? How many would realize that what we receive is not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of others? How many of us would see ourselves as the finite, dependent, impotent and self-absorbed creatures we often are?

I think we all know the answer to that.

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