In the last couple of weeks in the NFL, there have been a few games won in the last three or four seconds. A win is a win, no matter when it comes, but the thrill of a team fighting back against all odds to win in the final seconds makes the win so much sweeter than a 45 to 9 game that was “over” in the first half an hour.
As we look at the emotions involved, there are two distinct dynamics. AFTER the win, there is euphoria in the stands and on the field. However, the long fight back from being behind in the score is anything but euphoric. It is brutal.
In a movie, the last minute resolution of the crisis is carefully scripted, and we all know from the beginning that the bad guys will lose, and somehow the good guys will win. The tension is deliberately developed to make the story more interesting. The more impossible the last second win is, the more compelling the story is to the purchasing public.
But in a football game, provided it is not rigged, the players are living with the agony of probable, real-time defeat up until the last seconds.
In our walk with God, we combine the two dynamics. God writes the script, and He deliberately raises the risk level and delays the intervention for a long time, in order to make His win extra large. But we here on earth, who are walking out the story line, are like the football players who do not know if we will win or not and feel the agony of potential defeat while the tension is building.
God allowed James to be murdered, and He rescued Peter. He rescued Daniel but allowed Jeremiah to die a hard death. We simply do not know how God will write the script. For Him, there is no concern. He runs His plans with precision and utter control. For us, the sense of powerlessness as humans up against God’s ancient enemy is never too far away.
This was the dynamic with the Exodus. God fully knew He was going to use the Red Sea to finalize His victory over the Egyptians. The Hebrews had all the victory they needed. They were free and they had wealth. How much better does it get?
Well actually, an eradicated Egyptian army was better, but they had no heart for such a battle. God did.
So God used them as the bait to lure the Egyptians to their destruction. He was at peace with the gamble. The Hebrews would not exactly have used the phrase “at peace” to describe their emotional construct at the time.
In the end, He did it for two reasons. First was to benefit them. After the sheer terror was over, they were able to concede that the destruction of Pharaoh and the army and the chariots and the horses was a pretty cool insurance policy for their medium term future.
The second objective was to increase His honor through the complexity of the defeat of the Egyptians and the sophistication of His game of brinkmanship.
Most Christians don’t have much appreciation for God’s love of brinkmanship. We feel the anguish on the playing field of potentially losing something of immense value to us. We can’t see the confidence and control that the Writer of the Movie Script has over the outcome.
This is a time for confession of our fear based approach to editing God, and a celebration of His nature and purposes.
On the road