Ezekiel 14:23, “…and you shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done…”
Here is a question-silencing word. Here is a settling, quieting, storm-stilling word. We stand within the vantage point of history, using the frail faculties of our mortal, fallen minds and hearts as we attempt to understand the ways—and know the heart—of our infinite God. What a comfort, then, that—as He pours out wrath on Israel and dismantles His people of promise—He turns, as it were, and looks at Ezekiel and consoles Him with these words….. “you shall know that I have not done without cause.” He is not arbitrary. He is not haphazard. He is not malicious. He has good, beautiful, and true purposes for all that He does, all that He ordains, and though there may be uncertainty or confusion in the moment, we know, we know, we know that it is not without cause……and if the cause is one chosen by Him and deemed by Him to be worthy, then all we can do is place our hands over our mouths, bow our heads, and trust in Him. It will be glorious.
And the cross is the microcosm of this reality (the microcosm because it happens in a brief span of time, but at the same time it is the macrocosm because by it we know the character of God, which is what the universe exists to communicate) because at the cross we see horror and loss and injustice and suffering and shame and defeat and the splintering of all hopes……AND—with the resurrection, we see all of that agony turned into joy, turned into victory, turned into glory, turned into YHWH-made known, for the good of His beloved ones. The cross was not without cause…..and ALL of reality will follow that pattern.
Yes, in the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are given the incomparable gift of seeing the “whole picture.” Normally we only ever see the crosses of this life, normally we live in Good Friday, or perhaps Holy Saturday……but those two days are not revealed as the radiance of God’s glory—they are not revealed as Beauty—until the are illuminated by the light of Easter morning…..only from the vantage point of Sunday are Friday and Saturday beautiful……and only from the vantage point of the New Heavens and Earth, when the light of the risen Christ has swallowed up all of space and time, only then will the countless crucifixions and burials of human history become heralds of the Beauty of our great God and clear witnesses to the Name of YHWH.