God redeems all he allows
My hope is that today clarifies a pathway for us that we can walk every day into deeper relationship with God.
As we continue our first week of the new year, today we’re going to look at how God redeems all that he allows. Each of us faces difficult seasons in our lives, but thankfully, God does not abandon us there. Even today, even now, God is working to redeem our pain and heartache for his glory and our good.Today we’re going to look at what I believe is the most life-giving aspect of daily time alone with God, prayer. There are so many ideas out there about what prayer should be. Today my hope is to clarify what prayer can mean for you and me in this space we’re creating for God’s presence by looking at Scripture together. And then ultimately, making space today to really pray. My hope is that today clarifies a pathway for us that we can walk every day into deeper relationship with God.
In 1945, a group of starving children was rescued from a Nazi concentration camp. Allied soldiers fed and clothed them, but the children still struggled to sleep at night. They were restless, fearful, and agitated. The soldiers could not understand why until a counselor suggested that they give the children a slice of bread to take with them to bed—not to eat, just to hold.
With this tangible promise that they would have food for the next day, the children slept soundly.
What is your greatest fear for the future?
I could list several. So, as we look at trusting the Lord with this day and our new year, let’s focus on this promise: God redeems all he allows.
Your omniscient Father knows all of the problems you face and assures you, as our Scripture states, that “in all things, God things work together for good.” This phrase, in its original Greek language, could be literally translated as “every event in your life will cooperate with every other dimension of your life for your benefit.”
Here’s the reason God is working through “all things:” It’s so that we will be “conformed to the image of his Son.” He uses every dimension of our lives to make us more like Jesus.
And in this way, God redeems all he allows. Let’s unpack this fact just a bit more.
Matthew 10:29 explains that because the Lord is sovereign, he must allow or cause all that happens in our world. His allowing certain things shouldn’t be confused with His approval of them. And, because “God is love” as stated in 1 John 4:8, he can only want our best. Lastly, because he is “holy,” as the Scriptures mention, for example, in Isaiah 6:3, he can never make a mistake.
However, God would be making a mistake if he allowed or caused anything that he did not redeem for a greater good in this world and/or the next. Since he cannot make a mistake, his character requires him to redeem all he allows for the purpose of making us more like Jesus.
To be clear: this doesn’t mean we will always understand God’s redemption in this world. I don’t fully understand the airplanes I fly on or even the phone I use every single day. But one day you and I will understand what we cannot comprehend today (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Another challenging truth is that not everyone experiences God’s redemption. Those who reject his word are still used to accomplish his will, though they miss out on the benefits they would have experienced through obedience. In Exodus, we see how God used Pharaoh’s “hardened heart” to liberate the Jewish people, though Pharaoh himself missed out on any blessing. Even in Judas’ betrayal we see the Lord weaving his beautiful story of redemption and victory over sin and death.
We must have faith to receive what grace wants to give. Those who love God and want to be like his Son are the ones who most fully experience his redemptive providence in their lives. Will you put your day and your new year in the redemptive hands of your loving Lord? If you struggle to put your faith in God, ask him to help you.
today’s devotional is written by Jim Denison
1. Meditate on the fact that God’s providence is redeeming every dimension of your life that you entrust to him.
God “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
2. Ask your Father to show you how you can be more like Jesus today. Pray that he would show you what you need to stop doing and start doing to be more like your Savior.
“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6).
3. Ask God to show you how you can partner with him in his work of redemption today.
“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Being like Jesus includes helping others to be like Jesus. Mark 10:45 says he came “not to be served but to serve,” and he calls us to do the same (John 13:14). We must breathe out to breathe in. As we help others follow Christ, we actually become more like Christ as well.
There is no greater purpose than being like Jesus and helping others be like Jesus. But God can only lead those who will follow and will only give what we’re willing to receive. Jesus’ word in Revelation 3:20 to the Christians in Laodicea is his invitation to us: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Will you open the door of your heart to him today? Will you help someone else do the same?
Extended reading: Romans 8
There is no greater purpose than being like Jesus and helping others be like Jesus.