How can we understand the ways of God? We struggle, we try to be “good”. We pray and abide and obey and then nothing seems to happen. Our finances are still stuck. The kids are still misbehaving. Our illness gets worse. God’s ways are not our ways.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
How do we deal with this? What does this even mean?
As I have grown in my walk with the Lord, I have come to see that because God is un-limitable, we can’t actually ever understand Him. We can read about Him. We can learn about how others heard from Him and were affected by Him, but even with all of that – we can’t completely comprehend everything that God might be doing at a given moment or in a particular season.
He understands a bigger picture of the world and the universe than we do. He knows that some things will happen that cause other things, and ultimately good will come out of it. This is why we need faith. That no matter what something looks like in our momentary glimpse of reality, God knows the ultimate result. His ways are not our ways.
A Life-saving Phone Call
A few years back when I was taking the Metrolink to work, I used to talk a young man who also took my same train. We saw each other once or twice a week when I would take the 3:30 train home. We loved that train because it wasn’t crowded and we got home early. I went into Los Angeles on Tuesdays and Thursdays and he rode in daily. One week, the Wednesday train crashed into another train, tragically killing 20 people. Most of the people who died were the ones who rode in the first car – the same car I always rode in. I was home on that day – but I knew my friend was probably in that train car.
But a few weeks later when I rode the train, I saw the young man. I was so happy to know he was ok and I asked him what happened. He told me that he was just about to get on that train when his wife called and insisted he run some errands first and catch the later train. He said argued with her because he was tired and wanted to get home early. But she insisted that he run the errands. He took the later train. The annoying errands his wife had for him saved his life. There were other people I knew that took that same train. One person told me that on that fateful day she was delayed at work, one person decided to sit in a different train car, someone else was sick and didn’t go in.
Coincidence or Miracle?
A coincidence? Or were they all saved by the hand of God. I know many other stories like this. In fact, a book that I contributed to is coming out called When God Happens. It includes numerous true accounts of God showing up at just the right moment.
But other people were killed on that day. So why were some saved and others not? That is what we may never understand this side of Heaven.
So as I look at things that seem difficult to comprehend, I offer a prayer to the Lord. I ask Him to help me understand the situation. And if that isn’t possible then I ask for His peace. His peace that passes all understanding. I cast my cares on to Him and know that He will somehow show me the way through and/or give me peace.
Then I try to have faith in His timing. Instead of being annoyed at the errands I have to run or the slow traffic, I think about this story. He knows my needs and wants. He knows everything that needs to happen in my life. But God’s ways are not our ways, so it’s up to me to love Him regardless of the outcome. I remind myself that God is much bigger than my tiny corner of reality. I remember that His love for me stretches for all eternity.
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