Wednesday, May 20, 2015

So That

"Watch for the "so thats," a Bible teacher once told me.  Look for the words "so that" when you are reading Scripture. Circle them. Ponder on them.  They are words not just of explanation, but of intent.

I may not understand a particular situation I am going through, an enduring hardship or an unexpected blessing, but I can know that God is in it.  Even in this.  How can God use this?  Just wait and watch.  God is working still.  God is on the move so that...

It is always humorous to me that even those who do not believe in God recognize the connections between events and the overall arc of a story, quickly attributing to luck or coincidence those things that God has intricately designed. Things do not just randomly happen. God has purpose in it. 

"So that" indicates not just a hope that things will work out. It is the recognition that God is already profoundly working.  It is the reality that God is. There is not just a reason behind it. There is a reason for it.

These words are sometimes translated as the phrase "in order to," or simply, "because."  Yes, there is order to it.  And yes, there "be a cause," as a dear friend used to say.  But so that covers so much more:  it paves the past leading up to it, it embraces what is going on now, and it owns the future.

"So that" reveals that this is not the end.  Stay tuned.  There is a lot more to the story.  There is a lot more to your story, far deeper than you can know, far beyond the confines of your own life.

I read this morning in John 11, the story of Lazarus, an account that appeared to go from a bad situation to worst case scenario. And even in the midst of apparent tragedy, Jesus says, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it." (John 11. 4, my italics)

"So that."  With those words, the story continues.

Hang onto those words today.  Put them in your pocket.  Write them on your heart.  And in the midst of travail or mystery, Jesus' words will rise up and wrap themselves around you.

Your story is still unfolding.  You haven't reached the good part of the story yet.  God's redeeming is being woven into the fabric of your life, so that God is glorified through you, not just someday in the future, but right where you are.

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