A famous Christian leader used one simple prayer with which he started each day.
It ran, ‘Good morning God, what are you up to to-day?’. The question with which he began is one which many feel like asking when a fresh atrocity dominates the news media, whether it be the devastation wrought by the Oklahoma tornado, or the savage butchery of a soldier on a London street.
Some people, confronted with such events might answer as the historian Carlyle answered when his wife died. “That’s the trouble with God. He does nothing”
But the Bible asserts that God is always up to something. He is no disinterested onlooker on the human condition. He cares passionately for his creation.
For one thing, he is working to ensure the triumph of justice. Simply to read the writings of Hebrew prophets such as Isaiah, Micah, Amos and Jeremiah (so beloved of Peter Robinson) is be aware of God’s concern for social justice. Micah posed a rhetorical question: “Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?’ (Micah 6;11). Such a God is displeased with the corrupt bankers and grasping speculators who have brought the world’s economy perilously close to collapse.
God is also up to protecting the rights of the outsider. The commandments revealed to Moses three thousand years ago have a modern relevance. When instructing his people to observe a healthy balance of work and rest, God wished to ensure that such privileges were also granted to “the alien within your gates.” The Hebrews knew what it was like to be strangers in a strange land. The writer to the Hebrews encouraged his readers to ‘entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.’ (Hebrews 13; 3). Who knows what God might be up to in bringing a stranger into your life?
God is also up to the business of making people like his own son Jesus. God’s intention in salvation is to make little Christs. Paul wrote to the Romans that ‘those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.’ (Romans 8; 29). Christian leader, Norman Grubb’s daily prayer began by asking what God was up to. And he added: “I want to be part if it. May I? Thank you, Amen” He wants us to be part of his great programme.