Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants. (Genesis 17:1-2)
Abraham left his relatives and his native country when he was 75 years old. At that time, his name was Abram because God did not change his name yet to Abraham. Abraham means a father of one great nation, and Abraham, a father of many nations. In other words, God called him and shaped him into the father of many nations, which means all believers’ father. Most importantly, Jesus Christ, our Savior, came as a descendent of Abraham. God is faithful, and His faithfulness never changes, which is our assurance and faith. Thus, we have hope in Him.
Abram had great faith that very few people could have. At that time (about 4,000 years ago), anyone leaving his relative and the native country had to anticipate a great danger, including losing one’s one life and giving up one’s social safety net supported by families, relatives, and those who lived nearby. Abram knew all of the above, but he followed God once he met God and heard His promise. He trusted God that followed His promise to even in the distant land, of which he had little knowledge. Abram was courageous because he believed in Him. The absolute trust in God made him leave all but God and His promise.
The year 2020 was a challenging year for all, and we have just made the first stride to this new year, 2021, where nobody has ever gone before. All things are new and certainly vastly different from the year 2020. In this year, we collectively as human beings will end the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will be back to our lives without being constrained by social-distancing, quarantine, and travel restrictions. Let’s continue praying to God for the day that we will resume our lives again. Surely God will hear our prayer and answer our prayers in 2021.
Per God’s command, Abram took his wife, Sarah, whose name was still Sarai, and departed to where God had instructed. His nephew, Lot, went with him. None others followed because they did not have the faith that Abram had. Although Abram departed in faith, he did not know where he went. It seems quite odd, but it is not. It is common to all of us now.
Is there anyone in this world that knows about what 2021 will be? None. All have just walked into this year without knowing where all go. We are not different from Abram. As getting into 2021, we can see two groups of people.
One group has started this year with faith in God while trusting Him and believing His promise. The other group set out with no faith at all. Both groups have begun walking into an uncharted year called 2021 because none has gone before. The first group will continue building an altar and worshipping God wherever they go while calling on and praising His name as Abram did.
God pleased with Abram lived God-centered life, and God blessed and guided him through the paths of righteousness whether Abram was in the Promised Land or the foreign land of Egypt. We are the first group of people who believe God and trust Him that He will bless and guide us as He did to Abram. This is our faith and hope.
How about the second group of people? Who will really bless and guide those people wherever they go? The answer is nobody. They are alone in this world. How lonely will they be when they encounter hardships that they cannot bear and fall in the bottom of their lives!
Yes, we know where the blessings and protections will come. Thus, we are always confident in Him. It does not mean that we will never face hardships or get to the bottom of our lives. Nobody likes it, but we will equally face it like the others who don’t have faith in God. Then many will ask. What’s the point to build an altar and worship God by calling on and praising His name?
It is true that it superficially looks no difference between us who believe and trust God and those who don’t. However, there are fundamental differences. First, we don’t randomly encounter worldly hardships, which put us into a lower part (or even the bottom) of our lives. Please focus on the word “randomly.” The worldly hardships might randomly visit those who don’t have faith in God, but it is not the case for us.
What does “random” mean? It means happening without a purpose or a conscious decision. Therefore, nothing exists behind the randomly coming hardships, which find those who don’t believe in God. Thus, life pains caused by random hardships are meaningless, and the tears are of no value at all. And the outcome of those random hardships is utterly useless. Garbage in and garbage out. What else can we expect from randomly visiting hardships?
However, for those who believe in God, without one single exception, no hardships come into their lives randomly. Why? God is the Ever-Loving Father to those who believe in Him, which are us. God dearly loves us, and He is omnipotent and omniscient. Why does God, then, not stop any hardship coming to us despite He exactly knows when and where hardships will come to us, and how much pain it will cause even before we actually feel pains? If God ignores our pains, His love is false. If He does not know beforehand, He is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
God is always faithful and never changes because He has no rotating shadow, unlike us. For example, sometimes we cannot keep the promise due to unexpected and uncontrollable events that prevent us from doing what we have promised. This is the fundamental limitation of us, human beings. Our omnipotent and omniscient God does not have such constraints. God always dearly loves us because He is Ever-Loving Father. Therefore, to us, no random hardships will come, and God will never allow them.
Then why do we get hardships? As we talked about the above, God does not allow random hardships in our lives. Every hardship, every pain, and every tear have a meaning behind it. That is, God is behind each one of these in our lives. Yes, it is hard to imagine this. God precisely and perfectly governs all of our hardships, pains, and tears, although they often intertwined with the unfathomable complexity. Thus, we often don’t know where to start and how to untangle them. God is different. God knows exactly all details. God, then, governs all details for His beloved children without missing one split second or one-thousandth of an inch.
Additionally, God does all of the above with an unimaginably high degree of preciseness and punctuality for countlessly many believers living throughout the world. The resulting degree of the complex that God does for us is unimaginable, which quickly compounds to an indescribable number.
One plus one makes two, and two plus two makes four. Three plus three is six. … The complexity is not just addition but multiplication. For example, three times three is not six, but nine. Ten plus ten is twenty. However, ten times ten is one hundred. The gap between addition and multiplication quickly widens. We call this phenomenon compounding or exponential growth. This growth quickly goes beyond our imagination.
We all know the name “Google,” which we use every day. The name comes from ”Googolplex,” which is an unimaginably huge number. “Googolplex” is 1 followed by one “Googol” zeros, and one “Googol” is one followed by 100 zeros. The entire universe, the scientist estimates, is made of 1078 to 1082 atoms. That is 1 followed by 78 zeros to 1 followed by 82 zeros. It is amazing we can write down the number of atoms in the entire universe. This is the power of numbers.
Now we know our universe has less than one Googol atoms. Let’s assume that we can write down one number on each atom like 1, 2, 3,….. Then we will exhaust all atoms in this universe before writing down all numbers to one Googol, which is one followed by 100 zeros. Of course, we know that it is impossible to write down one number on each atom. Thus, this is a just hypothetical thought exercise, but it tells how big “one Googol” is.
Let’s continue this thought experiment because we have not reached to “one Googolplex” yet, which is the meaning behind “Google.”
For this time, let’s assume that we can write down one Googol numbers on the atoms in our entire universe by writing down on each atom. Then how many universes do we need to write down one Googolplex? If we have one Googol number of universes, can we write down all numbers in one Googolplex? No, it is not enough. We have to keep adding more and more universes, which is seemingly infinite. This is what Google wants to portrait the concept behind the name. However, “one googolplex” is still smaller than God because God is infinite.
Let’s go back to our Ever-Loving God. Can God precisely and perfectly write down all numbers from 1, 2, 3, … to one Googolplex? Sure. Without any reservation, God can do. Even God can precisely and perfectly govern one Googolplex times one Googolplex atoms and even all interactions among the mind-boggling number of atoms at His will. This is far beyond our comprehension. Even so, we barely touch on the true nature of our God, who is omnipotent and omniscient. This is the reason why we can trust and believe in Him at all times under all circumstances. Most of all, God is Our Ever-Loving God, who is always faithful, and dearly loves us as His children.
Then why does God allow the hardships to come into our lives, which bring in sorrows, pains, tears, and disappears? Surprisingly, they are the precious gifts from God, and the best ones that God brings into our lives. What? Are all the bad things in our lives the best gifts from God? Yes! You are right. They are the best gifts that God provides for us at the perfect time and place. If not, God is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Or God does not love us. However, neither is true. God is loves, and He is omnipotent and omniscient.
Then how can we sure about Him? Or how can we know the above is the fact? The answer is that God revealed this truth in many ways, including the Bible. The Bible tells that God picked Abraham as the father of all believers ever lived, living now, and to live in the future. Then God revealed the above-hidden truth by explaining, one by one, using Abraham as an example in the Bible.
For example, Abram faced many hardships as he walked with God. The first most significant hardship was a severe famine, which hit hard the promised land where he settled down. His faith in God was so great that Abram left his families, relatives, and native country. He worshiped and praised God wherever he went. However, Abram’s faith was not enough to be Abraham. As the famine came, Abram followed his own earthly wisdom and fled down to Egypt. Abram thought he would get enough food for his family in Egypt, but he did not consider safety ahead of Egypt’s journey. Egyptians threatened Abram. He felt he would get killed, and his wife would be taken away. He lied by telling his wife was his sister. His life was spared, but his wife was taken away to Pharaoh. Due to his lie, Abram was humiliated by his lie later by Pharaoh and his officials. All of these were God’s plan — let Abram know God better and have a deeper relationship with Him.
The dire situation made Abram back to God and pray to God. God heard Abram’s prayer, and God rescued him from the hand of Pharaoh, who was upset and could execute Abram per his anger. However, God protected Abram and sent Abram back to the promised land safely, not because Abram was faithful to God, but because God was faithful to Abram. Abram learned and truly experienced an unforgettable sequence of events initiated by his own decision to go down to Egypt.
Remember, our God is loving and extraordinarily generous to His own people. Then God lavishly blessed Abram. God also added earthly blessings to Abram. Pharaoh mistakenly gave lots of gifts because he thought he was getting Sarai, Abram’s sister. However, God warned Pharaoh, and Pharaoh, in fear, did not demand returning all of his gifts that Pharaoh mistakenly provided. Although he was angry at Abram, Pharaoh, in fear of God, treated Abram well. Pharaoh only could vent his angry frustration about Abram’s lie. That’s all that Pharaoh could do. Then Pharaoh gave his people orders to politely escort Abram, Sarai, all of Abram’s people, and all possessions safely out of Egypt. Our God is truly generous to His people, and whenever there is an opportunity, God lavishly blesses His people as God did to Abram. After all, for God’s eye, we, believers, are Abram’s children, and Abram is God’s child. Thus, we are God’s children. Is there, then, any reason for God not to love us like Abraham?
After the journey through Egypt, Abram grew significantly spiritually. He went through a growing pain in faith in Him. It was not the only one, and the end of Abram’s up and down. Abram had gone through many, and each one became one precious piece to make Abraham out of Abram. According to His perfect timing, Abram grew step by step in faith, and God precisely provided one after another. Indeed, as a human being, Abram was sometimes frustrated, and he argued with God. However, God was continually faithful to Abram. God guided Abram through the paths of righteousness till Abram became Abraham. What can we learn from the relationship between God and Abram?
We continue approaching God regardless of our lack of understanding of God and imperfect trust in Him. God precisely knows who we are and where we are in our spiritual journey to our Eternal Home. What truly matters to God is to come to God no matter what happens in our lives, which God really wants us. Again, God precisely and perfectly knows our weaknesses, faults, and sins, including hidden ones. We are not beautiful at all spiritually due to our sins, faults, falls, and bruises. But in God’s eyes, we are so beautiful. Why? Simply because we are His beloved children. In the parents’ eyes, all their children are the most beautiful in the world. Thus, we are the most beautiful creation for God’s eye, more beautiful than the sparkling stars in the clear night. Many of us should have experienced the incredible beauty of sparking stars suspended in the clear night sky reaching from one horizon, going through the zenith and the other side of the horizon. There is no word to describe beauty. For God’s eye, we are the center of all of His attention. God is always ready to embrace us with wide-open arms since the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, hid after sinning. His unfailing love will surely draw us into His bosom. This is always our faith and hope in all circumstances.
How long did Abram walk with God with many ups and downs to be Abraham? It took 24 years. God came and told Abram,
“This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!” (Genesis 17:4-6)
God finally gave Abraham to Abram the honorable name as Abram was mature in faith enough to be the father of many nations. God carved out Abraham out of Abram to be the father of all believers in all nations, that is, all believers, including us, who believe in God today in 2021.
Dear brothers and sisters, we pray to God for us. For this new year, 2021, we all walk humbly and faithfully with God. No matter what happens in our lives, we come back to God again and again while believing our father’s unchained love and what we have got is the best gift from God because God knows exactly and perfectly what we need to be mature at the moment and at the place where we are. This is our prayer. When we look back at the end of 2021, we are worthy of the new name that God has specifically prepared for each of us by the power of God and His love. Praise Him because He is worthy of our highest praise and thanksgiving!
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:4)
2 thoughts on “Whatever is good and perfect is from God, Our Father!”
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Thanks for your encouragement!
Please share with your friends.
We will work harder and continue praying to God for His guidance.
Open iChurch Team