If things don't work out well, does that automatically mean we are out of God's will?
If a relationship dies, should we have never entered it?
If a business fails, should we have never started it?
If circumstances are difficult and wearisome, have we just made a wrong turn, or has God looked away, or does He want things to be difficult for us?
If we think we have felt God leading us in a certain direction and have seen confirmation in Scripture and we do it and it ends up in a mess...did we hear God wrong?
Or did we actually just walk in the flesh?
Or is God just some cosmic professor who is putting us in difficult situations to test us and see how we can handle them?
I have had these questions rolling around in my mind yesterday after a coffee with a young friend who was relaying some issues in her life that just hadn't worked out like it seemed they should. She had only moved forward after prayer and the leading of Scripture, sooooo.........why did it not "work out"?
I also have had these questions myself, after this past year. We have had several situations come crashing down in our lives, and as I have walked amongst the rubble, I have wondered, "Lord, I thought You wanted us to go this direction. I don't understand. Did I hear You wrong? Are You in this?" Can I stand among the ruins and still believe?
These are tough questions, and sometimes Believers don't want to admit to such questions. I mean, they don't sound like someone walking in great faith and victory.
But David had them and Elijah had them. Should I be surprised that I have them?
As I was ruminating on these questions this morning, the Lord brought to mind:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
it will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Why do I try to put God in a box?
Why do I assume God's goals and designs are human ones?
We judge the rightness and goodness of a thing by success and happiness and by it looking like what we think it is supposed to look like.
We judge by the results.
But just look at Abraham. God called him to go to Canaan so he could make his descendants as numerous as the stars and so that He could bless the whole world through him. But Abraham didn't have his one and only child with Sarah until he was one hundred and when he died 55 years later, Isaac had only two more sons. I doubt to Abraham they looked like they were going to be as numerous as the stars of heaven!
Had Abraham made a mistake?
Had he heard God wrong?
Was he not supposed to move to Canaan? Was he not supposed to be married to Sarah? Was God not blessing them or fulfilling His promises?
Did Abraham ever wonder those things? Or did he just decide to obey God, go where God led, do what God said, and leave the results in the Hands of the One Who created the universe?
From our vantage point on this side of history, we can certainly tell that God did exactly what He said He was going to do, but have you ever wondered how it felt to Abraham?
I have more questions than answers today, but here are some things I know:
God's ways are not my ways.
God is in control, even when I don't understand what is going on.
God's plans are much bigger than my success or my happiness or my paycheck.
So sit back and watch the Lord. I think He wants to do things we could never even imagine.
But we have got to stop putting Him into our box.
He really doesn't fit.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.