28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it–
29 “lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 “saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”
Hopelessness and despair come to us all at some point. Even believers have their moments of wondering if this present suffering is worth it all. Suffering persecution for Christ’s sake is something I hope we would endure without question, but “common” suffering – the regular day-to-day troubles faced by all men – is something that leads many a believer to question God and His sovereignty. Faced with heart-rending trouble or overwhelming temptation, believers too often slide away from God, falling into sin and despair – and occasionally never coming back. At times like those, wavering believers and skeptics and atheists all ask the same question: “Where is your God now?”
Many devout Christians face such mocking. When we have been praying hard for a person’s healing and yet the person dies, scoffers often ask, “Where is your God?” When someone we dearly love dies too soon and all our future plans have been destroyed, we may ask, “Where is my God?” When relationships never seem to be restored, when poverty seems endless, when natural disasters take thousands of lives, when heinous crimes come to light, many of us are tempted to ask, “Where is God?”
Underlying that question is, of course, another question: “Is this really part of God’s plan?” After all, if “God is love,” then how can pain and hatred and despair figure into His plans? Oh, we’ve heard all the sermons (my own included) about suffering tribulation to help build our character and our hope. (Romans 5:3-4) And we’ve read through all of First Peter to understand how to hold onto hope in the face of various trials. But we still wonder, we still doubt, we still ask God, “Did You account for this in Your plan for my life?”
God has indeed counted the cost, and He knows the plans He has for you.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God even counted the cost of our salvation and did not think it too high to pay. God foresaw the crown of thorns, the scourge, the nails, the spear, and the tomb, and yet He sent His Son anyway. Jesus came to finish the huge plan God had set in motion, Himself becoming the capstone on a building many thought would never be finished. And more than that, God showed us a picture of His greater plan, one that would in time bring His Son back to us and bring about the resurrection of all His adopted children. Christ is the foundation of that “new” building, that new hope. God’s plan is not yet complete, but the end is in sight.
Today, many will ask us, “Where is your God? Is this part of His plan?” And we can confidently say that, yes, God is still working out His plans. Despite all humanity’s best efforts at ignoring God, despite Satan’s best efforts at thwarting Him, God is indeed going to finish what He started. As believers, our hope and our future is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, and no plan of man or devil will ever stop Him from accomplishing that. The cost has been counted and paid. What the Son of Man has begun to build for us, He shall certainly finish.
Heavenly Father, You knew what was to happen to Your Son, and yet You counted it as worth the price. Let me show the world that the price You paid is more than enough and that Your plans will be accomplished no matter what some might say. Who am I, Lord God, that You would pay that price? Because of Your Son, I know my worth: I am a beloved child of God. And so, Father, help me to live as Your child, every day becoming more like Your only begotten Son. Amen.