Let’s Hear It For the Failures

I once heard a Christian say that when he arrives in heaven he does not expect not hear “well done, good and faithful servant,” as much as “well tried.” He does not mean that God will be impressed by a reckless succession of rash attempts at self-grandiosity. He does not mean that God will laud him for projects he began with great passion before losing interest and becoming distracted by the next big thing. No, he means only that he …

If God Is Not Sovereign…

Christians speak often of God’s sovereignty. Reformed Christians speak very often of God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty refers to his presence in this world, his authority over this world, and his control within this world. God owns and oversees his creation to such a degree that nothing happens apart from his knowledge, apart from his will, apart from his wisdom. There is nothing we are given that does not in some way pass through his hands. As we speak of God’s …

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When “All Things” Don’t Feel So Good

No one who has ever listened to Beethoven’s 9th symphony has thought to himself, “I think each of these musicians is just making it up as they go.” No one who has ever listened to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has thought to herself, “I am pretty sure no one is leading this orchestra.” No one who has ever listened to Handel’s Messiah and heard the swells and strains of the Hallelujah chorus has thought “I detect no sign of a composer …

The Squiggly Line of God’s Providence

Even in our sorest trials we have the highest confidence: all things work for good. Even in our darkest valleys we have the brightest light: all things work for good. Even in our lowest moments, our hardest days, our most difficult circumstances, this precious promise blesses us, sustains us, gives us hope: all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. As Christians we know that God’s sovereign hand draws a line …

Longing for What’s Second Best

We often overestimate our wisdom. We often overestimate our capacity to rightly assess any given situation. We often overestimate our ability to know what would be best for ourselves and those we love. We are nothing if not self-focused, nothing if not self-reliant, nothing if not self-assured. Of course we know that, in theory, we are limited little creatures whose knowledge is small and whose understanding is minimal. But this rarely stops us from acting as if we know far …

When God Seems Deaf To Our Cries

Joseph died a young man, his eyes hollow, his body gaunt, his stomach distended. He suffered deeply in those final days before he finally succumbed to the great hunger that had already claimed so many members of his family, so many of the people of his land and the ones surrounding it. As his breathing slowed, as his eyes closed, he thought back to a day not too long before. He remembered pleading and praying as his brothers, made mad …

It’s All Chocolate

It is one of the great debates of a privileged age: is dark chocolate superior to milk, or milk to dark? Both have their advocates. The ones who prefer dark chocolate boast of the flavor of cocoa that is undisrupted by excess sugar, that so wonderfully compliments the bitterness of a dark coffee. The ones who prefer milk tell that milk and sugar enhance the flavor of cocoa the way they do the flavor of tea. Cocoa is at its …

Don’t Reclaim Your Life

At the end of the most difficult twelve-month period in the history of air travel, Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta Airlines, is sounding a note of optimism. Celebrating the steady rise in bookings and the gradual return to normal passenger volumes, he recently said, “As the case counts are coming down in meaningful levels as the vaccinations are starting to grow, people are ready to reclaim their lives.” It’s an interesting, thought that, and an attractive one: reclaiming our …

Always Read the Story to the End

We cannot truly understand a story until we have read it to the end. Very often it is only in the final pages of a story that the author springs the big surprise, that he pulls together the loose strands, that he explains the meaning and purpose behind his interwoven narratives. If we give up too soon, if we draw our conclusions before the end, we will never understand the author’s intent or appreciate the author’s skill. So too with …

A Side Of Perfect Beauty in Every Providence

Corrie Ten Boom famously compared God’s providence to a tapestry which, as it is being woven, seems to be little more than a mess of threads and knots. But when finished it is turned over to reveal its beauty. You can read this in a poem she popularized titled “Life Is But a Weaving.” But she was not the only one who has made such a comparison. Long before Ten Boom the abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier wrote “The Pressed Gentian.” …