If your carpentry skills leave much to be desired, like mine, then you have had the experience of not hitting a nail squarely on the head and it sets and bends. And then it is difficult, if not impossible, to straighten the nail out and hammer it in. Yet, I still spend a lot of time and effort trying to straighten out that nail so I can hammer it in.
Christians sometimes behave like me trying to straighten that bent nail that’s already been set. We think it’s our job is to straighten out the nail and hammer it in properly. And we spend an inordinate amount of time and effort just trying to straighten bent nails.
We live in a world that is bent! It’s broken. We are broken. God purposed it that way. He did so in order to redeem us, to save us and bring us into fellowship with Him.
So, God’s plan of work is not necessarily to straighten out this bent world, but to redeem human beings to live in a new and perfect world.
But sometimes we think our job as Christians is to straighten out a world that’s bent when that’s not actually God’s plan. And then if we’re not trying to change the world, we are questioning how God can let bad things, really bad things, happen.
Yes, this world is bent. It’s broken. We are broken. Because it’s bent and broken, bad things, really bad things, happen.
But God’s intention is not to fix this world. God intends to re-create this world. God’s plan is to use this bent world to straighten out human beings so they can live in the perfect world that He has planned after this one!
And the way He implements His plan of work is through His redeemed people. His redeemed people do God’s work by telling and teaching other people that God wants to redeem them, that He loves them and wants to save them and bring them into fellowship with Him.
That’s not determinism. Our life in this world is not lived in futility. It’s lived meaningfully and significantly when we are being about God’s work. And, then it’s lived in preparation for eternity, for eternal life with God.
But, it’s okay for us to do a little mending and tidying in the space we occupy. After all, we all like to have a clean work space!