A long discussion about the swirling confusion that is the state of our nation left me exhausted. Facts are hard to come by when we no longer trust the usual sources of information. I have learned how to say – “I just don’t know!” It is not the answer that we like is it?
My Christianity includes some real questions, too. I wonder why God allows evil to continue, why suffering goes on, why He sometimes remains silent when we cry out for relief. I read the Word and find mystery on some of the pages. I remember a comment attributed to the humorist, Mark Twain. “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
Faith is both a gift and a choice. Isaiah, pondering the destruction of Jerusalem by a pagan empire, wondered why God allowed it. The Spirit reminded him of this truth. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT) Preceding those word there is a promise of restoration and forgiveness. “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7, NIV)
Isaiah had to wonder why a God who promises such mercy would allow so much awful suffering and destruction of all he held dear. History reveals that God did restore His people, mercifully and faithfully bringing exiles back to Jerusalem about 70 years later! There was a national renewal and the Temple was rebuilt. Isaiah could only ‘see’ that in faith.
Are you willing to trust God when ‘nothing makes sense?’ That can be ever so difficult! He does not ask to live in ignorance, foolishness, or superstition. However, He does ask us to be humble enough to say, “I just don’t know, but I will walk in obedience to what I do understand.” “But, God, why?” is my cry when the future is obscure or when what I think I so desperately need or want runs headlong into what He commands of me. In those times I reach for the prayerful words of a man who was aware of the gaps in his own faith as he asked Jesus to heal his son: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Any parent knows that there are times when they insist on obedience from their child, even when that little one cannot grasp the ‘why’ of the ‘what.’ Some issues remain outside the ability of a child to understand or beyond their maturity to make a choice for the long-term. That is why God gives them parents to teach, to give them the training that will equip them for life as an independent adult. It hurts the loving father to refuse the request of a tearful son but he will when he knows the request is not best.
Paul reminds us of our own partial understanding, as he reminds us of a day of clarity that will come. “But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:10-12, NLT) What a glorious thing. All the questions that nag at us, that try to destroy our faith and hinder our worship, WILL BE fully answered and our hearts will rest.
Has life gone sideways for you?
Does the current chaos of COVID and politics make you confused?
Is some personal issue unresolved, God silent, and the way ahead hidden?
You are NOT alone. “God is not dead, nor does He sleep.”
So, let us trust, praying that our faith will increase, even as we leave the secret things to Him.
Here is a word from the Word. Meditate on these amazing words about the majesty of the Lord.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36, NIV)
I have made You too small in my eyes,
O Lord, forgive me.
And I have believed in a lie
That You were unable to help me.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong;
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong.
And in my eyes and with my song.
O Lord, be magnified,
O Lord, be magnified!
Be magnified, O Lord.
You are highly exalted.
And there is nothing You can’t do,
O Lord, my eyes are on You.
Be magnified, O Lord,
I have leaned on the wisdom of men,
O Lord, forgive me.
And I have responded to them
Instead of Your light and Your mercy.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong.
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong,
And in my eyes and with my song,
O Lord, be magnified.
O Lord, be magnified!
Lynn DeShazo© 1991 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI))
CCLI License # 810055