When Israel entered the Promised Land, God had this brilliant idea: He established six "cities of refuge" - places to which the innocent could run and be protected from vengeance, secure to live out their days in the goodness of God and the fellowship of brothers. And then, once God had established these cities, He took them out of the regions they naturally dwelt in, and He gave them to the Levites as their portion. He entrusted those who served Him to live out that service not just in the Temple, but in the world.
And herein lies an extremely important truth about God:
He trusts you.
God knows the calling He has put on your life. He knows the heart He put inside of you. He knows your passion for His purposes. He knows everything about you, and He trusts you to carry out His good will here on earth.
This is mind-blowing news to a lot of folks, including a lot of Christians. We spend so much of our lives thinking that we are one sin away from screwing everything up forever. We look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we've already blown it. We lie awake at night wondering how God could ever use us, how He could ever do anything at all through us, as messed up, backward, broken, and bruised as we are.
We beat ourselves up - and do a pretty good job of it - because we don't feel like we're who God wants us to be. We feel like He's disappointed in us. We spend a lot of our time hiding, tucking ourselves away so that maybe God won't even see us. If He doesn't see us, He can't be mad, right? He can't be disappointed, right?
We are so convinced that God regrets trying to partner with us in His work. We believe, often to the core of our being, that if He had it to do all over again, He wouldn't. He wouldn't choose us. He wouldn't put us in charge. He wouldn't let us be part of this very big thing that we made a very big mess of.
But when we look at the cities of refuge, the heart of God just comes busting through. And that heart of God?
It trusts us.
God knows how big refuge is. He knows how big safety is. He knows how big protection is. He knows how much His glory depends on justice, on His ability to execute something like this in His world. He knows that His very reputation depends on how well this goes, that the world is always going to judge Him - at least in part (and often a large part) - by His people.
And still, He trusts us.
He trusts us who serve Him, however imperfectly. He trusts us whom He has called, however reluctantly. He trusts us who are trying, however feebly. He trusts us with His glory and His reputation and His goodness and His grace in this world. And He doesn't regret it.
Someone once said, and it's true, that God knew every mistake you were going to make before He called you, and He called you anyway. God doesn't regret His creation; He loves it. He loves us. He's delighted with us.
And He trusts us.
We really are part of His incredible plan.