“We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
It was the third time we’ve had to run for our lives.
An ominous flickering orange glow on the mountain where darkness should have been, sirens screaming, flashing red and blue lights, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies with expressions of danger and urgency chiseled on their faces.
Here we go again, we thought. Fighting through traffic snarls, car packed to the gills, into the night with no place to go and no idea if we’ll have a home to go back to when it’s over.
The Cave Fire was sudden, scary, deeply unsettling. Disasters like this are becoming a way of life in “idyllic” Santa Barbara.
Our brush with disaster — this time, only an inconvenience, thankfully — can hardly be compared to the endless litany of murder, mayhem, terrorism, natural disasters, wars and religious/racial hatred that fills our newspapers and flash across our TVs.
It feels like we live in a global war zone and it would be easy to lose hope. How to make sense of it all?
I remember driving through a building construction zone and being momentarily shaken by the disorder: Dirty, smoky, jumbled, noisy, piles of trash, loud machinery, surly catcalling workers with hardhats, long periods without progress, work-arounds, injuries, confusion, frustration, angry outbursts, neighborhood inconvenience, traffic snarls, endless delays. And that’s on a good day!
From the outside it doesn’t look organized or thought through. But somewhere on every jobsite is an insulated construction shack and inside, it is calm, clean and quiet.
There, plans are carefully laid out, schedules formulated and progress measured with great precision. Here, the architect’s dreams take physical form without interruption. No panic, no brawls.
Inside, there is order and precision; outside the shack, chaos, disorder. Yet somehow the job proceeds, the building gets finished, and soon, people fill it with life and purpose.
It is only then, that the whole thing makes sense.
God at Work in Us
Scripture tells us that our whole world is under construction and God, the Master Architect is sovereignly unfolding His plans for this seemingly chaotic universe from His calm, peaceful environment of heaven. Sin has made a mess of things but wait until you see His plans for the future!
Here is a sample from Revelation 21:1-4:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away … I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’”
And not only will He make his material creation new, but for those who choose to side with Him, He’s bringing into being a whole new human species, not fatally hobbled by sin. Here’s 1 John 3:1-3:
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Philosopher Dallas Willard once wrote: “God is recruiting volunteers now to join him as family members and partners in the loving fellowship of those taking part in a tremendously creative project, under unimaginably splendid leadership, on an inconceivably vast scale, with ever increasing cycles of fruitfulness and enjoyment.”
Further, we don’t have to wait to die to commence this heavenly life but, upon being born again through faith in Christ, we experience inner spiritual transformation that immediately revolutionizes our lives in the here and now.
How About You?
Jesus told us in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Have you accepted God’s offer to leave the hurly-burly, higgledy-piggledy ways of this world and to enter into the eternal peace of His celestial “head-shed?”
— D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at email@example.com. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.