“The years teach much the days never know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
ATTENTION: Attention please! Things are always after our attention. Details overwhelm circumstances every day. Things cry out to us; feed me, pay me, buy me, notice me, listen to me, put me first, give me, love me, talk with me, trust me, play with me, worry about me… and a myriad of other requests every day we open our eyes and face the world we inhabit. Demands in the details require our attention, our focus, our hard work and our planning. Sometimes we get so bogged down by these issues of need that we lose sleep, we resort to manipulation, we lose our tempers, and relinquish our ability to spend time with those who we hold with affection or have committed to love. We are stressed out to our limits by the busyness of giving our attention to a variety of areas; even when they take the form of occupying our mind with anxiety of their satisfaction. We think, we suppose, we worry and infer the situational matrices of what will require our attention next. We also worry about the attention we need in response. Sooner or later we come to understand that we do not have the ability to meet all the demands of attention in our lives. Fortunately for us, the infinite, almighty God of the universe not only is aware and in control of the billions of details, but He is weaving them together in his perfect timing, for his perfect will.
With so many details demanding our attention and efforts each day, it is easy to get caught up in the minutia of satisfying them. When we get in the habit of living our lives through our own efforts to accomplish and satisfy the needs of attention we have thrust upon us; we find that our hearts eventually run cold and our cups eventually run dry. We further find that our resources have their limits; we find that our power is finite, and our time in which to accomplish these things is short. It is in these moments when our hope in the infinitely powerful Lord must reign supreme. The Lord who created everything, who measured the heavens with the span of his hand, is truly in control in a world seeming to be overflowing with chaos. It is our viewpoint of being in the midst of demands which colors our perspective and focuses our presuppositions to confusion.
When we focus on understanding the situations of attention in the immediacy of circumstance, we confuse our infinite nature in the Lord and our finite being in a sinful world. Our abilities and adequacies are based in God’s limitless power; therefore we have an infinite level of resource in seeking the Lord. When we focus on Him through our times and trials, we find unending levels of compassion and provision. We recall where we have come from and the promise of what lies ahead, due to his grace. We recognize his loving hand working through circumstances and people. Many times in the present circumstances of needs and attention, we are unable to see the larger picture, as it is very difficult to comprehend what the Lord is doing in the exact moment He is doing it. We can see slivers of possibility and truth, but in order to see the unfurled majesty encompassing the details of reality; it must be defined in what He has done. The finite human mind cannot comprehend the all encompassing sovereign mind of the King of Kings. God is always up to much more than we can see and infinitely working in ways far beyond our comprehension of cooperative circumstances. In the moment and looking to the future, we must reside in the faith, hope and trust, worthy of his omnipotence, as He weaves billions of details together to accomplish his will. The limitless power of the Almighty is the only source of strength which can be depended on in light of the variables facing us every day. This is the essence of our seeking Him. He is the God of the details. The mathematical wizard of the universe; taking unknown amounts of variable details, and using them mystically to abundantly add, subtract and multiply the majesty of his will on earth. He perfects every outcome of every atom in the cosmos. There is not a maverick molecule, nor a moment misused in history. Even in the face of evil’s existence, the scheming of the Devil and the ugliness of sin; no action is beyond the realm of what He uses to bring infinite good into our hearts. Who we are is directly connected to his infinite ability, his limitless love and his unending grace.
In the midst of so many variables we must come to understand ourselves and the provision of the Father through the perspective of the past. As we know from the story of Joseph; the circumstances of the moment are often too overwhelming to understand in light of themselves, and must be given in trust to the Lord, as He is working out the details to the end of his purpose. This is no easy task while caught up in the middle of anger, bitterness and the disillusionment of the moment, amidst pragmatic thoughts of the situational metrics. This is where the story of Joseph gives us past insight for our present and future. God used things that seemed bad, to be vehicles for bringing about his good. Joseph was trapped in a pit and sold into slavery; yet God used the evil intentions of his brothers to take Joseph to a new place for him to be used for the Lord’s purpose. He rose to a place of authority in Potiphor’s house, and though he was wrongfully imprisoned due to accusations and intended harm, the Lord took him again to a place where he could be used. Once in prison, again he rose to a position of authority, and even after he interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker, he still waited two years for the circumstances to be right to find himself in the palace. While Joseph was in the pit, there was no meter for understanding the palace. While he was in prison there was not justice for the false accusations or reparation for someone who had wronged him. After serving in interpretation of dreams, there was no change for two years of his circumstances. His only comfort was the presence of the Lord and his promise to be with him through the melancholy rollercoaster of emotions and situations. Joseph knew that in the promotions and demotions of life, the authority given and stripped away, the unwarranted vengeance of men and women and the service to the Lord of Hosts, The Lord was with him. He knew that the Lord rules and overrules in the lives of men and women, even to those who are hard-hearted to his purpose. His sovereignty is full and all encompassing. Both providentially and concurrently, the Lord’s sovereign will comes to fruition in the world. In providence He acts to bring about his will on earth and in the hearts of humanity. In concurrence, his will acts in conjunction with man’s to achieve his purpose. Billions of details align at the word of the Lord. This is the creator and the master of the universe, who answers each need of attention perfectly and in his perfect timing. Our infinite ability to seek Him in our need is our mainstay as we wait for Him. Our limitless adequacy is fulfilled in his sustenance as we acknowledge our needs to Him.
We must seek Him in the midst of the details of the moment. As Joseph found, God was waiting to send him into a situation which had been ripened to perfection by the hand of the Father. Had Joseph been freed sooner from prison, the circumstances would not have been paramount for the possibilities ahead. We learn things from the pit to the prison which we need in the palace. The waiting room of the Almighty is where the essential molding of our hearts is perfected. It is not in the present moments of our circumstance where we understand the billions of details which the Lord is working together every moment for the good of billions of people according to his will. This is the essence of what C.S. Lewis said when he penned, “…the first two words when we reach heaven will be, ‘of course!’.” We view the present of perfection from our limited space and time. We can only understand it through the perspective of the past. We must trust the God of promise who takes us from the pit to the palace. The Lord has promised us the infiniteness of his presence as we experience the existence of his will in the world. Let us seek Him in our moments of struggle. When we find ourselves in the pit, let us remember that his presence is with us; his provision is preparing the path through billions of details crying out for attention. Let us be faithful to the Sovereign Lord of the universe. Let us seek Him as we wait for his perfection. Let our hope remain strong through the ups and downs of our experience in the world He who was and is and is to come controls every detail of.