Anton’s recent sermon from Ecclesiastes helped me, a lot. In expounding 7:13 (“Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?”) he explained that, though we cannot control outcomes, we can be content knowing that whatever God makes “crooked” in our life will be for our good and for his glory. He illustrated this from several real-life applications. It was just what I needed to hear.
For a couple of weeks I have been wrestling with a physical issue that needs “straightening out.” For some reason, despite carefulness on my part, things have gone “crooked” and therefore debilitating. It has been painful, frustrating, and, if truth be told, rather discouraging. Anton’s biblical exhortation gave me perspective and a lot of help. Thank you, Anton. Thank you, Lord.
You and I constantly face situations where things are crooked, though we would like for them to be straight. Perhaps it is an illness, or a broken relationship, or a difficult employer, or a monotonous job, or a rebellious child, or a continual pandemic. Whatever the undesirable circumstance, it is helpful for us to remember that God alone can make it straight. He may choose not to. And that is okay. It will be for our good, and for his glory. Yet, it is also true that he can set things right.
He can heal the body; he can save the child; he can change or replace the boss; he can give you a new job; he can remove the scourge. While Ecclesiastes is teaching us to rest in God’s sovereignty, it is not teaching us to be passive about that which is crooked. We should reject the caricature, inspired by the hyper-Calvinist who, when he fell down the stairs said, “Thank God that is over.” Rather, pay attention to your feet!
We are not fatalists; rather, we are those who live by faith. And faith asks. Faith seeks. Faith knocks. Sometimes, faith is rewarded with joyful acceptance of the crooked. And sometimes God responds by making straight what was crooked. I am thankful that, 41 years ago today, the Lord took my crooked nearly nineteen-year-old life and began to straighten it out. By God’s sovereign grace, he granted me repentance and faith and began to reshape my life. I believe God heard the prayers of my parents and my grandmother. They knew things were crooked with me, but they also knew God could make things straight. In fact, things were so radically straightened out that, for a short while, they were fearful that I had perhaps joined a cult at my university!
There are still areas of my life that are not plumb, which are not rightly aligned. I still struggle with the sinfully crooked contours of my life. But since God can make them straight, I keep looking to him, I keep praying to him, and I keep trusting him to straighten me out. As a “wretched man” I will continue to look to him until the day I am “delivered from this body of death” (Romans 7:24). He will make be perfectly straight!
Is something crooked in your life? I mean, is there something in your life reminding you that, apart from God’s intervention, it will not come right? Is there something in your life that serves as a constant reminder that God is God and man is man? I hope so, because this can lead to the appreciation of the good news that God, in Christ, is our hope.
Look to Christ. Respond to his invitation to come to him, the one who is meek and lowly of heart. Jesus Christ is God and is able to straighten your sin-bowed soul. He can straighten out a whole lot of other things as well. And if he chooses not to, well, that is okay for, in the end, it will be for your good and for his glory.
Responding with you,