“What are You doing, Lord?”

Every person of faith comes to a moment when they wonder, “What are You doing, Lord?”  We confess that He is the Lord of all, that the world He’s made is directed by Him. Then evil appears to triumph, a friend’s baby is born with severe disabilities, an accident claims the life of someone we love … and we wonder why.  At least, I do!

Christians hold two competing views of God and His ways.

One view emphasizes the rule of God and therefore whatever happens is His perfect will. Our only response to life is a fatalistic kind of resignation, living as if we are just puppets on a string.

At the other extreme there are those who emphasize the choices we make, proponents of ‘free will.’   Their conclusion is that we, alone, are responsible for what happens to us, that we create our own success or failure. God is reduced to being the ‘Divine Advisor.’  

The truth is a balance of two seemingly irreconcilable truths – that God is ‘sovereign’ and that I am a ‘free agent.’  How can I believe that God is ‘in charge’ and that I am free to choose at the same time?  What we usually set up as an ‘either/or’ situation, the Scripture teaches as a ‘both/and’ situation. 

God is not truly God if He cannot direct His creation.  We will not live in confidence if we diminish His ability to care for us, to secure our salvation. But, if we ignore the powerful gift of personal choice we will live irresponsibly, failing to appreciate the principle that today’s decisions are the seeds of tomorrow’s harvest.

When Jeremiah wondered why God had allowed the Temple to be destroyed and the nation to be enslaved, the Spirit of God spoke to him. “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will build up and plant a certain nation or kingdom, making it strong and great, but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless that nation as I had said I would.” (Jeremiah 18:6-10, NLT)  

God’s will is not subject to frustration by anything or anyone, but how we live has a clear affect on how we experience life. His plans are not inevitable and unchangeable. The Person of God is unchanging, the purposes of God are moved by our prayers and obedience.

We are not puppets helplessly ‘dancing’ as God pulls the strings from Heaven.  He wants me to trust Him enough to seek to know Him and His will. He desires that I give myself to His ways so that I can find live with contentment, joy, and purpose.  There is an amazingly wonderful serenity that comes from knowing that I am held in His hand. If we sin against Him by becoming a self-willed rebel, or an angry fool that shakes a puny fist in His face because of unpleasant circumstances will we drift from the comforting of the Spirit.

Isaiah warns about an inflated sense of self and the folly that comes from a failure to submit to the sovereign God. Using the same imagery as Jeremiah, he writes – “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?” (Isaiah 29:15-16, NIV)

Those twin truths – that God reigns supremely and that He has given us freedom to choose His will – are important. The first grants us great assurance. The second reminds us to pray for the Spirit to keep us on track.  Christian friend, take solace from His promise that He will never leave us, never forsake us.  And then take the challenge of living ‘in the Kingdom’ bringing God’s purposes to life in the world, a change agent that works for the defeat of evil and suffering.

The better question when we are confused by what is happening around us is ‘what are You asking of me, Lord?’  “Why?” sometimes defies our understanding, His purposes and will simply beyond the scope of our mind’s abilities.

If He wills that we go through the fire to refine our character, we can walk through it with peace.

If He wants to lead us to repentance, it is imperative that we respond quickly!

If His desire is to make us a living example of His grace, then our momentary sufferings become a thing of glory, the pain we experience inconsequential compared to the privilege of being used in His plans.

Prayerfully meditate on this word from the Word.  Thank Jesus for being your Savior. Seek the Spirit’s daily guidance. All the while rest in the Father’s amazing will.

“Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the people turn from their wicked deeds.

Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.

Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:6-11, NLT)

(Video of this blog at this link)

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How Great Is Our God

The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

Chris Tomlin | Ed Cash | Jesse Reeves

© 2004 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Vamos Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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