“A Better Way”
Read: Isaiah 55:8-9
Fourteen years ago, the PC game Civilization II hit shelves across the country. Hitting near the peak of the simulated game craze, the turn-based strategy game (Roller Coaster Tycoon, anyone?) put players in control of their own country, allowing them the freedom to rule however they wanted. You could live at peace with other countries or take them over in bloody coups. You could build up your own infrastructure or allow your people to fend for themselves. You could even make the choice whether you would keep your country a democracy or turn it into a brutal dictatorship. The game basically gave you the freedom to do whatever you wanted to do, making you both President (or, if you prefer, Overlord) and god of your own little land.
Though the game had specific goals for you to meet, you could also play it indefinitely, allowing you to see what your culture would look like hundreds of years in the future. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, an anonymous Civilization II player revealed that he had been playing the same game for a little over the decade, taking his country all the way to the year 3991. Since it’s highly unlikely any of us will live until then, here’s a quick snapshot of what life will allegedly look like at the dawn of the fifth millennium:
There are a couple of things I think we can learn from this man’s experience. The first is that some people have far too much free time on their hands. Playing an outdated PC game for a decade? Seriously? Methinks this anonymous gamer needs to get out a little bit more. Secondly – and much more importantly – I think this story tells us something about how we view humanity’s future. You see, we all have this concept that humankind is falling apart. Our civilizations are bound to come into conflict with one another, causing irreparable harm to our world. We believe it so much that a PC game designer programmed Civilization II to assume that humanity can’t keep it together. We have this idea our shared future is going to be a bleak one. Left to our own devices, it seems, humanity is doomed to destruction.
Thankfully, the Bible informs us that our plans aren’t the ones guiding this planet. God reigns sovereignly over this earth, controlling and guiding everything that happens. His hand works in all things, moving history towards its ultimate destination in Jesus Christ. The Bible assures us His sovereignty is so great, in fact, that He can redeem even the greatest of tragedies for His purposes. We don’t have to rely on our own plans; instead, we can trust in His.
But, you know what the best part is? It’s not just that God has a plan. No, it’s that God makes much better plans than we do. God has a better way, a better destiny, a better life planned for us. As today’s passage in Isaiah reminds us, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. He does and thinks things we could never possibly imagine. Everything about Him is far greater than anything about us.
And that’s a good thing.
If God were just like us – if He had all our faults and failings – He wouldn’t be worthy of worship. Indeed, if His ways were our ways, He’d hardly be worth following at all! Yet, because He is so unlike us, we know His plans will never fail. His ways will never fall. For that reason, we can trust Him.
As a matter of fact, looking at Isaiah 55:8-9 in its immediate context only solidifies the idea that we should trust this God who thinks bigger than we can dream. Take a look at the broader passage:
Read: Isaiah 55:6-9
Unlike us, God loves and forgives even after He has been wronged. Those who sin need only turn back to Him to find His grace and forgiveness waiting. His ways truly are greater than ours! We need to keep that in mind the next time we’re tempted to run the world according to our own plans.
1. If God’s plans are better, why do we have such a hard time trusting them?
2. Read Jeremiah 29:11-13. What are God’s plans for His people?