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The Gospel Work Goes According to God’s Plan

God gives us the courage to be bold always. However, whenever we encounter a difficult situation while preaching the gospel, we are seized with fear and become like a deer caught in the headlights. God says, “So do not fear, for I am with you” (Isa 41:10). Although we hear these words of God, sometimes we only focus on our immediate situation, instead of the inward aspect.

If the preachers of the truth hesitate or hold back, the gospel work cannot be accomplished. We need to realize how great our God is and believe firmly that God Himself is leading the work of the gospel. Only then can we have confidence and do everything for the sake of the gospel.

God manages the entire universe

Viewed from the universe, the earth is just a tiny speck of dust. It is insignificantly small. On the contrary, the universe is vast and beautiful beyond imagination. The splendid, great celestial bodies maintain balance and move according to the laws established by God, and the countless stars in the universe orbit one another precisely according to the providence of God. It is God the Almighty who manages the great universe and can even change the orbits of the celestial bodies. Let’s confirm the great power of God through what happened in the past.

Jos 10:12–13 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

The army of Israel, led by Joshua, fought against the Amorites to conquer the land of Canaan. If the sun set and it became dark, things would be unfavorable for the Israelites. In this situation, Joshua earnestly asked for God’s help. Then something surprising happened; the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting almost a full day. The sun, which God suspended over Gibeon, did not go down until Israel won the battle.

The sun had always been moving regularly, but it stood still. This was a miraculous event that occurred according to God’s will. Moreover, God even showed something unbelievable—making the sun go backwards.

Isa 38:1–8 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the L ORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the L ORD came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. This is the L ORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’ ” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

When Hezekiah became ill, God sent him the prophet Isaiah to predict his death. Then Hezekiah prayed to God with tears, which moved God to extend his life. As a confirming sign for him, God miraculously made the shadow of the sun go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway.

It is basic common sense and a natural law that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So, it is impossible for the sun to move backwards. However, many supernatural events occurred beyond the laws of physics. We, humans, cannot explain them as anything other than miracles. It was only in accordance with God’s will that those supernatural phenomena happened.

The earth was created according to God’s will

Not only the sun, but the earth was also created and exists in accordance with God’s providence.

Job 26:7–8 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.

The above verses say that the earth is suspended in empty space. This shows that the creation of the earth was also in accordance with God’s will.

The earth we live in was created by God, and the enormous universe which the earth belongs to is managed by God as well. Nevertheless, we feel more attached to visible worldly things than the fact that God created the vast universe and operates it.

However, when we realize the fact that God manages the entire universe, everything goes well for us. If we have faith, all the phenomena surrounding us work in accordance with God’s will. On the contrary, unless we have faith, we come to see everything as a factor that causes us trouble and hindrance.

When we are confronted with a difficulty, let us remind ourselves that it is our Father and our Mother who created the earth and manage the universe which is much, much bigger than the earth. Even the unfavorable circumstances that cause us difficulty work according to God’s will in the end. God, who makes known the end from the beginning, is leading the gospel work and guiding us on the path to salvation. What will be the result, then?

If something is from God, it never fails (Ac 5:38–39). Since the beginning of history, there have been many people who go against God’s will. However, the world does not turn according to their will—not even for a moment. 2,000 years ago, there were also a group of people who schemed to hinder the gospel of God in the early Church, but they could not stop the gospel from being preached.

It is the same today. This world goes only in accordance with the plan of God the Creator. We are living in that world. Keeping this fact in mind, let us preach the gospel with boldness. Then we will surely witness the fulfillment of God’s prophecy that many people will gather to Zion.

“My thoughts are higher than your thoughts”

Fear comes from unbelief in the fact that the entire universe is operated according to God’s will. God advises His people to look at the world from a wider and higher perspective—from His perspective, not a narrow point of view.

Isa 55:8–9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God says His thoughts are higher than our thoughts just as the heavens are higher than the earth. By our own thoughts and abilities, we cannot move the earth even just a little bit or stop the sun even for a single moment. On the other hand, God can show us even more miraculous things than the ones He has shown us through the Bible.

Then, which one should we choose—God’s thoughts or our own thoughts? When our thoughts go against God’s teachings, we need to make a decision to throw away our own thoughts without hesitation.

Isa 55:6–7 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

The Bible says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to God.” God has promised to have mercy on him and pardon him.

Unless we throw away our own thoughts, we are likely to fall into the error of thinking that our thoughts are better than God’s great teachings. Then a stubborn, self-centered and arrogant faith is settled in our heart, so we may not receive God’s saving grace. If we happen to commit such an error, we should quickly turn back to God and ask for forgiveness in obedience to God’s word.

God brings down those who are arrogant

Those who do not recognize God’s existence give themselves credit when things go well, but they are wrong. The gospel work cannot be accomplished by human abilities. God sees our faith and opens doors for the gospel. The Church of God has been able to grow to what it is today, only because God has been leading us all the way. God does not bless those who are arrogant in heart. At the time of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was deprived of his God-given blessings when he exalted himself.

Da 5:17–21 Then Daniel answered the king, “. . . O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.”

King Nebuchadnezzar arrogantly thought he had built the strong kingdom by his own ability and power. Then God gave him the mind of an animal. Eventually, he was deprived of his throne; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven.

After living like an animal in the grass of the field for a long time, he realized that God is sovereign over all the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone He wishes. Only then was he able to recover his mind; his understanding returned to him, and he regained his throne. Repenting of his sin, he gave praise and glory to God (Da 4:28–37).

Until we realize God fully

When arrogance arises in our heart, God disappears from our heart and it is filled with selfishness, and eventually God shuts the door to His blessings. When we examine the history of Israel in the desert, we can see that they also committed the same error.

Dt 8:1–3 Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.

The distance from Egypt to Canaan by the direct route would have taken about ten days. However, it took them forty years to arrive at Canaan. The reason God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness was to humble them and to test them in order to know what was in their hearts, whether or not they would keep His commands. However, they were entangled in immediate things and blamed one another, which caused discord among them and made them grumble against God.

What kind of mindset did God want the Israelites to have during their desert journey? God wanted them to realize Him fully and to obey His word, so that they could enter Canaan and receive His blessings. However, they did not realize that God had been leading them every step of the way. It took them forty years to understand this simple but definite fact.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us (1 Co 10:1–11). If we only pursue the things of this visible physical world, we can never realize God. The Bible clearly testifies that the God of heaven governs everything, rules over this world, and sets anyone He wishes over all kingdoms on earth. In other words, everything is accomplished according to God’s will. So, if we truly believe in God, we should regard God’s word as more precious than anything else and make it the greatest indicator of our life.

God has promised us that the gospel will be preached throughout the world. Seven billion are not too many for God the Almighty. If we possess complete faith in God and have an earnest desire to follow God’s will, the gospel will be preached to all seven billion people and the work of salvation will quickly be accomplished by God’s grace.

The eternal kingdom of heaven is at hand. What we need now is repentance. We cannot enter heaven until we are changed completely. As God’s children, let us obediently walk the way of truth God has commanded us to follow and serve one another humbly in love, so we can give glory to God and accomplish the gospel work as quickly as possible.