Prepared by God

No drink is sweeter than water tasted by the desert’s dying man. No morsel can compare with the crumbs that break starvation’s involuntary fast. No sight is more beautiful than the first shaft of light following the typhoon that stole the night’s stars. Nothing is more urgent than the drowning man’s next desperate gasp for air.

            No wealth could ever buy that moment when a mother’s outstretched arms receive her newborn child. There are songs whose melodies cannot be captured in musical notes. There are poems whose lines cannot be composed in pen and ink. There are colors whose rich hues lie beyond the vision of human eyes. Few victories are greater than the moment the lame stands, the voiceless speak, the deaf first hears.

            These are all beyond our daily days, close enough to understand but seldom seen.  But note the staggering statement of Scripture. Paraphrasing Isaiah’s words with the added knowledge of the Christ, Paul wrote, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

            What is this that God has prepared for those who love Him?

            History tells us the first preparation was in the pristine beauty of Eden in splendor we can now scarcely imagine. We peek at it from time to time when nature tries to steal back some of the beauty lost when man fell. We can peer at it through great telescopes and see the majesty of a universe that has mercifully escaped the ruinous touch of human sin. God prepared this for us but it was squandered. Lest we come down too hard on Adam and Eve it is doubtful that any one of us would have fared better than they did. Our first parents were pulled from the wreckage of their self-destruction by the love prepared for them.

            What next did God prepare for those who love Him? Fetching Abraham from the creeping darkness of spiritual night He delivered to him promises of descendants and untold generations of blessing. We note Abraham’s life – hardly a spotless or consistently heroic tale. But the promise persisted as the love that God prepared for those who love Him.

            To demonstrate both His abhorrence of the iniquity that infests us and His love to rescue us God instituted the sacrificial system. With the transfer of the guilty one’s sins to an innocent animal it proved that sin was a death sentence. But by the atonement the sacrifice offered for that very same sin proved that the God so deeply offended wanted still, time after time, to have the relationship restored. And so through the centuries the blood of goats and cows and sheep and doves flowed drop by drop until unceasing crimson rivers flowed from the Brazen Altar. The animals’ bodies became ashes to be replaced by fresh ones that became ashes themselves. The awful cost was there because God prepared this for those who loved Him.

            But even this wasn’t enough. Amid the smells of a barn and in the shadow of a murderous king who usurped the Judean throne, into the arms of the most abject poverty and among a people so profoundly dull of understanding the Savior came. Moving forward with utter resolve He pushed forward redemption’s plan. When His blood flowed it ended the need for any more animals to die. When He struggled for His breath He was breathing the promised blessing of Abraham. When He rose from the dead from the garden tomb the Garden of Eden was pushed aside as man’s highest place of blessing. The coming of the Son was prepared for those who love Him.

            What is this that God has prepared for those who love Him? We can’t fully know. We taste it and we live it and we are filled with it and we are uplifted by it but we cannot know its breadth or its height or its depth. It is always wider, higher, deeper than we ever imagined. Nor can it be contained in these fleeting days of a single life. John reminds us "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as He is" (1 John 3:2-3). More, so much more God has prepared for those who love Him.