Comfort Comes from the Creator
The blank walls around me provide a stark contrast to the scenic backdrop I recently enjoyed. Just “four sleeps” ago (as my children count time) we stood looking out at the Atlantic ocean. That simple act was so full, and my mind can recall the details and sensations vividly. My feet felt sand and bits of shells that the waves tirelessly crashed in, then quickly took back out again. I heard the distant calls of seagulls, felt the breeze move my hair, and smelled fish that had just been caught on the pier. I squinted my eyes and looked as far as I could, trying to pinpoint where the ocean and sky met. As I enjoyed this feast of common grace, I couldn’t help but worship the Creator. Because God made everything, he alone determines how it works, and he alone should receive the glory from it all.
As creator, God knows how all things best function. When he spoke all things into existence he included a pattern, which if followed, will lead to human flourishing. His commands, like “die to yourself” and “love your enemy” are not arbitrary. They are for our ultimate good, and they serve to reflect the Son who fulfilled them perfectly. If I believe God is the omnipotent, self-existent creator, I must submit to his authority over creation. I don’t get to determine how life works because I didn’t create life.
As rebellious creatures, we tend to prefer autonomy and spurn submission. We would rather curate our own realities with self-appointed roles and rules than abide by another’s instruction. We build upon the sinking sand of relativity, ferociously defending the ultimate truth statement that there is no ultimate truth. We compare and compete in an effort to determine our own worth. Some outright reject God’s authority as creator. Some accept it but don’t live in light of it. The human condition is fraught with forgetfulness. When I forget that God sovereignly reigns over his creation, I shoulder the unnecessary burden of directing my own life path. The rotten fruit that grow as a result includes anxiety, impatience, and selfishness. When God reminds me by his Spirit that he is both creator and king, I instead feel peace, patience, and joy. As I enjoy this much better way of life, God is rightly reflected and glorified through me.
God both created all things and involves himself in the minutiae. He chose to bring glory to his name through all that he made. Romans 11:36 summarizes, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (ESV). God alone deserves glory and praise from his creation, and yet created beings are constantly tempted to misplace their worship. Romans 1:25 describes, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (NASB). We might not shape wood or gold into idols, but we put a weight onto created things that they were never meant to carry. Our job performance becomes the measure of our value. Our children or significant other become our source of identity. We worship the approval of others or the sense of security our savings account brings. We view gifts, which are given to stir our affections for the giver, as gods themselves. But only God can fulfill the core longings of our heart, and he refuses to share his glory with any other.
The same recent vacation that brought the joy of the ocean also brought grief. During our trip we received word that my husband’s aunt was in her final moments of life. Only eight weeks earlier she had been diagnosed with cancer, and eight weeks from now her first grandbaby is due.
I’m struck by how closely the beauty mingles with the pain; how intimately the awe coexists with the despair.
But, in times of suffering we find comfort in our sovereign, loving Creator. As I remember that he created time itself, I trust that his presence perseveres. It spans from before the creation of the world and reaches into all of eternity. One day death will be done. We will know new depths of pleasure, worship, and joy. We’ll see Jesus face to face, like Aunt Cindy can now. And we will enjoy the new heavens and new earth together with our Creator and King.
*photo by me, shot on iPhone
*photo by me, shot on iPhone