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–From the “Chapel Talks” file of Prof. Em. Paul R. Koch–

“And it came to pass . . . ”

We were supposed to have our school photo day yesterday, but it did not come to pass; so we are rescheduling for another day; perhaps it shall come to pass on that day. Things like that happen due to human error or circumstances beyond human control.

The difference this item makes in your life may be minimal, but it has reminded me of a very simple statement of a few words in Scripture: “And it came to pass in those days . . . ” You recognzie that phrase from Luke 2:1; I have been pleasantly surprised to find similar versions scattered through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, usually at the beginning of chapters.

In those simple words lies a great truth: it is the truth that God carries out His business on schedule, without hindrance by world or the devil, with or without acknowledgement from the race of humans who pursue life as though it were their territory to manipulate. It seems, indeed, that relatively few of any generation have received the grace to acknowlege: “My times are in thy hands.”

Relatively few have the insight to live as God-minded as the half-brother of Jesus exhorts: “You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live, and do this or that.'” Only the Christian heart is convinced that God will have His plans for us come to pass, after all.

Let us notice with pleasure that this is not the fatalism of “whatever will be, will be,” as though the universe functioned under rules of blind chance, and as if your future were the random luck of the draw. Nor is Christian security as groundless as that of the Muslim who intones: “Inshallah”–“as Allah wills.” Allah is an idol, a false god, and those whose allegiance is to Allah are devil’s dupes. It is not Allah who controls what comes to pass in these days or any other days, but it is our Lord and Savior Jesus, now reigning in heaven, who will make come to pass whatever He deems best in these days.

So when we come across that expression in Scripture: “And it came to pass,” or “And so it was, that . . . ” our minds should soar to the mansion above where God our Father and God the Son our Savior rule together to make all history fit the pattern pre-set and foreordained from eternity for the sake of redeemed souls. Is this not what the Spirit assures us of in saying: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose . . . “? And though the mechanisms that Jesus uses to bring such blessing to pass in these days are often not revealed clearly to our wondering hearts, those words make our hearts warmed, for we perceive that it is our Redeemer having HIS way come to pass for the blessing of His redeemed children– including you and me.

Your life and mine are not pawns of fate; your days and mine are not blankly discarded by random, aimless chance. That is not a viable alternative.

Consider but for a moment or two an awful alternative–the horror of a God-less alternative. What if it had NOT come to pass in those days that Adam and Eve stayed at the center of God’s love? What if there had been no redemptive plan formulated to come to pass in the days of Caesar Augustus? What if no message of hope for redemption of sinners had ever come to pass for them and for their children? Thank God that He IS God, and He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore each day of this planet’s history has dawned BECAUSE God has had His mind made up about humanity; and He has set His heart on getting people like you and me out of Satan’s strong grip. And though God’s love has often been disappointed, and His concerns often disregarded, HE HAS NOT GIVEN UP: the days of His mercy have come to pass on this earth and shall continue to come to pass because He is that sort of God, and we are the sort that need Him so much.

Your life here has reason, and your efforts here have purpose, and your future has God-sponsored goals. For still to come to pass on this troubled globe are God’s important programs of evangelizing and upbuilding the church, and then taking souls to glory.

May we ever be aware of how suitable our places are in God’s plans in these days that are indeed passing–no one exactly like the other and so soon gone. May God grant that we use our days wisely, and may their passing find us richer in their blessings.

To God all praise and glory. Amen.