Still Things Moving
by Bob Burridge ©2015
Still Things are Already Moving
As I type these words I’m sitting at my desk with a keyboard in front of me and a collection of monitors surrounding me. My coffee cup is at my right, and on my left is my cell phone and tablet. Those things stay where I need them to be, and I have no fear of them moving away unexpectedly. Aside from natural disasters such as earthquakes or tornadoes I’m assured by a principle of science we call “inertia”.
God built into his universe a property of matter that makes things remain where they are until some force acts upon them. It also means that once something is moving it takes a force to change its motion. But things are not always as they seem.
As I sit here with things around me appearing to be motionless, that’s not really the way it is. The planet I’m on rotates one full turn every day. At my latitude that motion brings me through a distance of approximately 19,290 miles every day. This means that everything on my desk is moving all the time at a speed of over 800 miles per hour. It doesn’t seem like it because I’m moving at that same speed too. But that’s not all there is to consider.
The planet I’m on is orbiting the sun at a speed of about 66,000 miles per hour while the solar system is moving toward the star Vega at a speed of about 43,000 miles per hour. At the same time our local star system is circling inside the Milky Way Galaxy at a speed of about 483,000 miles per hour. When we add all that up we are moving at well over half a million miles per hour all the time.
Of course it all has to do with our frame of reference. Since I’m moving at half a million miles per hour along with the planet and all the things on my desk, relative to myself it doesn’t seem to be moving at all. To realize we’re in motion, people watched the skies for many generations, made drawings and careful measurements which were compared with all the information recorded in the past.
Once we realized that we don’t live on a stationary piece of ground with the sun, moon and stars orbiting around us, we have been able to more accurately predict where things like the Moon, stars, and planets will appear to be before they get there. It has enabled us to land on the Moon and to send space vehicles to study the other planets.
There is More Going On
There is an analogy here that helps us get a better perspective on the things happening to us every day.
All around us, though we may not always be aware of it, God’s plan is unfolding. He is orchestrating all things together in fulfillment of his eternal purposes by means of all that he made, even the little things. Every rain shower or hurricane, every phone call (the annoying sales calls as well as the treasured calls from friends), every car on the road, every mosquito, broken arm, toothache, and power outage are all part of that bigger picture that displays God’s power, glory, mercy, and justice.
Matthew 10:29-30 “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? and yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
We often go about things day after day not thinking much about how all things are working together as they fulfill the good plan of our Creator (Romans 8:28).
As I sit here typing I’m not always thinking about the power station that sends the electricity to my computer through those miles of cables. But without that energy supply my system wouldn’t work. It’s nice to take things like that for granted so we don’t have to be distracted from what our utilities enable us to do. However, behind it all is the hand of our Sovereign God who sustains it all. He makes the physics work, enables the technicians at the power station, keeps the cables from breaking, and protects our home circuits from damage.
If there are times when the circuits or supply lines stop working, that’s all in God’s plan too. We don’t need to know how it all fits together in that big picture, but we do need to remember that there IS a big picture. Rather than worrying about why things are not going well, our duty is to respond in ways that are honoring to the God who upholds all things according to his greater wisdom and power.
When the Prophet Habakkuk saw evil and calamity spreading through the nation of God’s people he brought his concern and confusion directly to the Lord. The answer he received is good advice for us too. God said, “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.”
This means that those who put their unquestioning trust in God can learn to accept circumstances as they are, even the painful ones. Their question is, “Lord, what will you have me to do in this situation? and how shall I carry it out with the right attitude?”
Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Even when things are going well, our appreciation for God’s sustaining goodness should not be far from our thoughts, unlike the distraction of thinking about the power supply all the while we use our electrical devices. Psalm 77:12 says, “I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.”
Centering our thoughts upon God in all we are doing is important, even when we are just doing the everyday things. Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
Joseph was sold to passing traders by his jealous brothers. After many years he was able to see the bigger picture behind all that had happened. Their evil plan put Joseph in a position to provide for God’s people when there was little food available in the land. He explained to his brothers in Genesis 45:7-8 “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Then later in Genesis 50:20 Joseph said, “as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” The evil they did was not excused, but God’s purpose for including it in his plan was eventually made clear.
Peter explained the most wicked act in human history by this same principle. Jesus had been killed torturously, inexcusably. But behind it all was the plan of God. The unjust killing of the Messiah was for the purpose of paying the moral debt of God’s fallen people. In Acts 2:23 Peter explained, “this man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” Little did those angry people know that instead of ending the influence of Jesus, they helped him fulfill the message they so hated.
There is always more going on than we are able to see or understand. The essence of a true God given faith is that it trusts in the one who is behind all things, even when it’s not all understood. This faith, if it is real, is also a confidence that both calamity and blessing should be met by an attitude and behavior that shows real trust in the advice of our Heavenly Father. It’s always right to respond in ways that honor our God no matter what’s going on.
We may not be aware all the time of the moving of God’s hand, but it is never still.
Note: Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.