By, Isam Itson III
“And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12.
I love learning about creative people at the top of their field. Chefs, and architects, and woodworkers, and the like. People with the vision and discipline to transform raw materials into beautiful and functional finished products inspire my own creative drive and vision. One of the phrases they often mutter under their breath as they complete the necessary steps in production is, ”that’s good.” They know what they want. They know what processes the component parts need to undergo in order to support the form and function of their desired final product. God is no different.
Reading Genesis chapter 1(Genesis 1), the phrase, “and God saw that it was good”, does not appear until the third day of God’s work of creation. In fact the phrase occurs twice on the third day. God’s goal in creating the heavens and the earth is the proliferation of living creatures under his care. Over the course of the first three days God prepares the earth to receive and nurture those creatures. The water and light were created on the first day. On the second day God divided the waters in two, the waters above and the waters below. He called the space between them the sky. On the third day God placed the waters below behind boundaries that caused the dry land to come into view. God saw that was good. Then God brought all kinds of plants with seed and fruit trees into existence on the dry land. And God saw that was also good.
Water, air, food, land, shelter, and raw materials for the various creatures, including humans, that God had in mind. By the end of the third day God had finished constructing our habitat. And he evaluated his work to that point as suitable for the fulfillment of his desired vision. He pronounced that it was good.
Here’s where I often come into conflict with God. According to this text, and throughout the scriptures, God is presented as the final judge of what is good or suitable, or acceptable, for life on earth. Including human life. Including me. God has the final say over me and my life. I submit to his appraisal as a matter of course. He has made me with his purpose for me in mind, and I am not always happy with that. I see myself as a creator or producer, not as a creation. I have my own vision and goals for my life and my own ideas about the steps it takes to get there.
I want God to finish his work on me with a snap of his fingers. Even better, I want God to leave me alone to shape and spend my own life according to my desired outcome. When there is a disagreement between me and God over methods or end goals, I want God to submit to my judgment and endorse my conclusions. I want to live my life according to my perception of what I think is good. I want my life and the lives of those around me to unfold in a way that reflects my preferences and makes me feel safe, and comfortable, and able to keep myself secure by my own strength. And when life does not conform to my wishes, that offends me deeply. I get very angry. Enraged is a better word for it.
But the scripture is very clear in Genesis 1. Only God’s opinion matters when it comes to judging whether or not something is good. When it is ready and able to fulfill the purpose for which God created it, it is good. God has the final say. Not me. Swallowing my pride and submitting to God’s process and judgment is the most difficult part of living in a relationship with God that honors and reflects his rule over his creation. Especially when his plans and process and opinions differ from mine. God is in charge. Not me. God takes all the time necessary to shape his creation, including me, toward the fulfillment of his eternal purpose. That’s good.
God please help us learn and live in light of your supreme love, wisdom and authority. Especially when we are not pleased with your process and our immediate circumstances.
How do you react when things don’t go according to your plan? Would the people closest to you agree with your answer? Ask them.