“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
This is by no means a formula found in our Scriptures, but as I re-read the account of God’s creative work in Genesis 1, these words leap into my mind. Our wise Creator demonstrated marvelous insight in the way He established His cosmos piece by piece. Consider His chosen order of things:
The heavens are mentioned as the first things He created (v.1), and they were also the first things to be populated (angelic beings and the heavenly lights).
The earth was covered by waters (v.2) and then the sky was formed by the separating of the waters (vv.6-8); the water and sky were the next to be populated (day 5).
The land appeared as the waters were gathered to one place, and it was populated by animals and then humans (day 6).
Why did God create light on the first day? Did He need it to see what He was doing? Doubtful. Even the darkness is as light to Him (Psalm 139:12). It seems the light, along with the darkness, was needed for all that followed to have their proper place. Everything God created needed its proper place, for it would all exist, and existence for the tangible creation requires placement.
How awful it would have been for the birds if they had no sky in which to soar when they were brought into existence, or if the fish and great sea creatures had no great bodies of water, or if the walking and creeping animals had nothing solid to walk and creep upon! And this is not where God’s concern for proper placement ends. When He called Abram to become the father of many nations, He promised to give him a land that would be the proper place for His descendants. Walk through the entire story of God with humans, and you’ll see that He is determined to place them where they can best thrive. Ultimately, we see this in Jesus’ declaration that He went to prepare a place for His disciples in His Father’s house (John 14:2). That declaration was confirmed by the vision He gave to His friend John of the heavenly city of God coming down to be established among God’s new creation people on the new creation earth (see Revelation 21:10).
At the simplest level, Disciple, these realities are potent fuel for our worship of the Creator who is so kind and wise as to ensure His beloved creatures are placed for their great good. More than that, though, this confidence in our Father’s commitment to our proper placement will give us courage to face seasons in life when we are feeling terribly and painfully out of place. Our Master Jesus is the greatest example of this (as He is for all good things). How out of place He was in the manger in animals’ living quarters! How out of place He was under the assault of hypocrites’ crafty and demeaning accusations. How out of place on trials before corrupt mortal men and on a cursed cross meant for the vilest and most shameful of all Rome’s enemies.
How and why did He endure those things, then? “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). As His disciples, what else can we do but fix our eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2) and “consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that [we] will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). Just as Jesus was given His proper place at last at God’s right hand, so shall we who carry on here and now even when we’re feeling so displaced. He has in mind the exact right place for you. Listen, obey, trust, and endure until then. Just like your Master.
Eager for the place He’s preparing,