It seems impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that He was before He was. The idea of the I AM. The fact that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.
I’ve clung so much recently to the fact that nothing takes the Lord by surprise. That dad’s cancer has been a part of His sovereign plan of redemption since the beginning of time.
I can believe that moments, that brief periods of hardship, that tragedies or relationships or surprises, have been perfectly integrated in His tapestry of sovereign will since the creation of the world.
It just makes sense. I mean it took me a while, about 19 years in fact, to make peace with the fact that God always has been, and that He is sovereign, and that we cannot thwart, nor even exist outside of, His perfect, sovereign will. But that I now, in the depths of my heart, accept these things as true, it is fairly easy to trust that all things are simply a part of this will. That He has planned them in His goodness and love and mercy. That He has allowed them as objects of His eternal glory. That He has known them all along.
But that the person of Christ, not simply God, but the character of the Emmanuel, who walked among us on earth, that this person existed before all things, too, is a new mystery for me. In a recent sermon, Piper talked about the purposeful use of the word “incarnated” rather than “created” in scripture. The seemingly small reminder that Jesus was never created. That Jesus just was. And that His being, His character, simply took on a different, human form.
And it makes perfect sense. That the Christ was born of a virgin, not simply to prove the power of God, although it did, but also to remind us that this king, this savior, did not originate from human flesh. That He did not originate at all. But that this Jesus, the Jesus of Nazareth, in His full character and glory, existed before the creation of time. What a remarkable truth. What a sweet reminder the week we celebrate His coming, that as He is today, seated on the throne, anxiously awaiting His return, so was He before. I take such comfort in viewing this Jesus through such an infinite lens. He did not simply come to love us then, and choose to love us now, but rather He IS love. And always has been. It’s amazing.
So it is a wonder, how He so often, is not such a wonder. That this person of Christ – the ancient of days, who was and is and is to come, who came to live the life that was required of us, die the death that we deserved, and intercede for us with the Father – that He is not, daily, the most staggering of thoughts to those who believe.
I confess that in these past few days, cancer has been more powerful, more awesome – in the true sense of the word, that which inspires awe – than the Messiah. I confess that in these past few months, the unknowns of my future have been more astounding, more demanding, than the knowledge of the person of Christ. That the false promises of my sin have whispered more loudly than the dangers of it. The intimacy with others has caused more pause than the intimacy with my Lord. The ways of this world have appealed so frighteningly more than the trodden path lead by my “domesticated Jesus.” I confess that these things have been very, wholly true.
And yet, I rejoice that I am very, wholly free from their pull. I rejoice that as we celebrate this Christmas, that as we fight this cancer, that as we face the uncertainties of the future, and as we live daily in the filth of our sin, that the truth of the gospel is, in fact, the most staggering truth of them all. And that our Father desires this to be felt by His children. And that He will answer our prayers to be reminded of it daily.
I am thankful for a Christ that always was. For an incarnation that always was. For a sovereign will that always was. And for a gracious God that always will be – come sickness, fear, death, success, whatever.
O Praise the Lord, the risen Christ, for all He is and always has been.
O Praise the Lord, the risen Christ, that He is the light of the world.
O praise the Lord, the risen Christ, that He is coming again.
O praise the Lord. O praise the Lord. O praise the Lord.