O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isaiah 25:1 NRSV
I drove across several states to and from Massachusetts to Indiana a couple of weeks ago. Going took me a northern route and the return trip the southerly. I passed over mountains, a great lake, and flat fertile farmland. The majesty and beauty of all these things bore witness to God's creation–plans he set in place long ago.
You and I are also part of that plan. When God was done separating the heavens from the earth, creating the dry land from the seas, and populating the land with greenery and moving things and the waters with swimming things, He created us in his image. He found it all good. Then He gave us authority over his creation to be responsible managers.
An essential part of God's plan was His desire for us to be in a committed relationship with Him. To walk with him in the garden and converse as friends. When we became disobedient and rebelled, God adapted the plan–or perhaps with foreknowledge, was prepared–to continue that relationship.
He first worked through the family of one righteous man to advance the plan. When they were held in physical bondage, He freed them, leading them to a mountain where He gave them the Law. Later, His plan would continue as he took human form to serve as our example of living righteously. Finally, he came to offer us spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin. Through His suffering, death, and glorious resurrection, He gave us the hope of eternal life.
His plan continues. He left us with the promise of His return, ushering in a new heaven and earth. This is not a new plan but the continuation of the one set in motion at the creation.
We praise God for the beauty of the creation we witness around us. We give thanks for His extraordinary compassion, mercy, and grace that includes us. And we exalt His Holy name because of all He has done and who He is.
Father God, mere words are inadequate to express all your goodness and our thanks for the plans you put in motion long ago. We confess we are hard-headed and rebellious people. We fail to see all you have provided, and we become discontent. Forgive us; we pray. Help us to pause before we complain, to look around at what we have, and to reflect upon your continual grace. May the praise of your glory replace our grumbling. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.