RELIGION COLUMN: He will because he hasBy Staff Reports Published 10:36am Friday, December 27, 2013
By Jake McCall
Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … ” If we were to use a literal translation, it would say, “For to us a child has been born, to us a son has been given.” The difficulty with this literal translation is that it was written around 750 years prior to the birth of Christ, and yet we apply it to that very thing. So what’s the deal?
There are times when my wife, Alana, may ask me to do something before I come home in the evening. She may say, for instance, “Jake, will you run by the store and pick up some milk on your way home?” Now, you may think that statement is a question, but we all know that isn’t really a question. Therefore, I always respond by saying, “You got it.” But there are also times—I think it’s rare, but it does happen—that I come home and she asks about the milk, which I forgot. Something came up, or I got distracted and didn’t bring it. Thankfully, something more than my forgetfulness would have to happen to make Alana upset with me or cause her to question my integrity. However, what if I had told her (being so sure that I would get it and bring it home), “Oh, I’ve already gotten the milk,” but then came home with no milk? Well, then, I’ve not only been caught forgetting, but I’ve been caught lying.
In this passage in Isaiah, when God is telling his people that a child has been born, God is not lying, nor is he saying something that just may happen if all other things fall into place. Isaiah is rejoicing and wants us to rejoice because he is seeing that it’s not just that we can be confident in something that will happen in the future, but that we can be confident in something that has already happened in the future. Stay with me because I’m not saying that God is a time-traveler; I’m saying that he transcends time as he sits above it, watches over it and governs it, and he is not limited by it. This is what our prophets, like Isaiah, were able to understand and see. So as we look at this famous verse that is often spoken and sung at Christmas, here is what this means for us: When our Heavenly Father tells us that all things will work together for our good, he doesn’t just tell us that because they eventually will work out; he tells us that because they have. When your Heavenly Father tells you that he will be there for you always, he will—because as he is with us now, he is with us then. And when Isaiah tells us that Jesus is coming and is reigning and will reign for all of eternity, it is because he has come and he is reigning now and he is reigning 2000 years from now—and he is reigning 2000 years beyond that.
Time and circumstances limit us every day. You will probably fail to accomplish something that you planned to accomplish today. God, on the other hand, will accomplish his purposes because he has. Jesus told the Pharisees: “Before Abraham was, I am.” So, have others let you down? Are there people in your life who have promised you things and could not or would not follow through? At some point, we all fail in our promises, but the Bible tells us that our Father in heaven has made promises that will be kept because he has already accomplished them. He is here with us now, and he is there waiting on us tomorrow and in all of eternity. When you combine God’s infinite and eternal characteristics, you have a God that cannot fail you—and he expects us to be able to rest in these mind-blowing truths.
—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church. His column appears each Thursday.