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Colliding Kingdoms & Living on the Fringe

Recently my wife and I started watching the Fringe TV series on Netflix. The fictional show deals with unexplained supernatural and technological occurrences investigated by the FBI’s “fringe science” division. It turns out that many of the grisly events have been caused by a collision of parallel universes and alternate timelines.

      Having watched several seasons of Fringe, I can’t help but think of a pivotal but rarely discussed passage in Job 26:14: “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; and how faint a word we hear of Him!”

      After years of feeling the smug satisfaction of knowing he was an exceptionally upright and virtuous man, Job finally understood an awful truth: Although he had been doing all the right “religious” things, he was only on the outer edges of God’s plan for his life. Instead of having an intimate daily relationship with the Lord, he was only hearing God’s voice faintly and sporadically.

      During the climactic final scene of Job’s story, he admits to the Lord, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).

      People always wonder why Job had to go through such horrendous trials. Part of the answer is simply this: God wouldn’t allow Job to remain on the fringes.

      The Lord wanted to bless Job in new ways, beyond his wildest dreams. Yet none of that was possible if Job was content to stay on the fringes. He already had been blessed with great wealth, but God had a far greater dimension of abundance in mind for Job.

      There have been many times in my Christian life when I languished on the fringes of God’s ways. Perhaps you have too. Often when we’re on the fringes, we don’t even know it.

      Until the heat was on, Job didn’t have a clue about his true condition or what he was missing. He had fallen into the common trap of comparing himself to those around him, instead of comparing himself to God’s holiness. He was content to be “the greatest of all the people of the East” instead of great in God’s kingdom (Job 1:1-3).

      Just as in the Fringe series, Job’s ordeal stemmed from a collision of universes or kingdoms. God versus Satan. Good versus evil. Relationship versus religion. The judgmental assumptions of his friends versus God’s ultimate plan to bless him.

      But amid this horrific collision, God was working all things together for Job’s good (Romans 8:28). If it hadn’t been for his trials, Job might have never discovered he was living on the fringe.

      However, there’s a major difference between Fringe and the Bible. In the TV series, exciting “paranormal” events happen on the “fringe” of human experience. In contrast, when believers are content to stay on the fringe in their relationship with God, the exact opposite is true—life is boring and there’s little, if any, experience of the supernatural. A life on the fringe is a bland, powerless, and unfulfilling existence.

      Aren’t you tired of living on the fringes of God’s purposes? I am.

      It’s time to dive in and go deeper in your relationship with the Lord. Yes, you may experience turbulent and disturbing collisions between parallel kingdoms at times, but that’s where the fun is. It’s in the center of God’s will that you will find peace, satisfaction, and fruitfulness.

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