May 11

But I Have to Understand! Part 1

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says 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.

II Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Most Christians readily admit that they believe that God’s thoughts are not like ours, and neither are his ways. We wouldn’t dare come close to saying such a thing out loud. Yet most Christians don’t really act as if that were true. It’s not that we think that all of our thoughts are like His. It’s that we think we can actually understand what God is doing. What we’re acting like when we do that is thinking we can bring the wisdom of God down to an understandable level. Perhaps nothing other than direct sin has slowed down our walks more than our stubborn insistence on having to understand what’s going on.

Of course, it’s only human nature to try to bring order out of chaos, and to try to connect the dots when all we see is the dots. Our minds were created by God to seek coherence and to try and “add things up.” This is a great gift in our natural lives, a gift that brings us safety, understanding and enjoyment. But in the spiritual realm, it’s somewhere between a demonic trap and an idol.

There are so many factors to what is going in our lives that apart from a direct word from the Holy Spirit, we can’t begin to share God’s perspectives or understand what He’s up to. We can’t see the whole picture of our lives, or truly understand even a snapshot. There are many reasons why, but here are a few:

1. What’s going on is not just about us. There are many, many others involved in and around our lives, whether or not we can see that. We might know some of these folks, but we probably don’t know them all. Certainly we can’t know how God is working our current circumstances in the lives of others.

2. God is not just working in the moment, but over time. The timeframe in which God is working in our lives might be months, years, decades, or more. He may be working redemption in several ways with many people over various periods of time. He is the Great Multi-tasker in ways beyond our comprehension.

3. Lastly, He is Almighty God. He doesn’t look at anything like we do. Our perspectives are so affected by sin, brokenness and by simply being human that we have to bow the knee and confess regularly that on our best days, when we are at our sharpest and most spiritual, we can’t even come close to getting a true understanding what He’s doing at any given moment.

God’s Word is full of wisdom that helps us to understand all we need to in most circumstances and trials. More time spent there helps bring perspective. Spending time with Him, praying, listening—these will bring us perspective and peace. Let’s make our drive to understand a sacrifice to God when things get hard, and replace the stress of this mental and spiritual strain with trust in His power and goodness.

Prayer: Lord, please stop me short when I am heading down the road of seeking to understand things that are truly beyond me. Help me to understand what I need to understand and give me a waiting heart that is poised to hear whatever You want to speak to me.

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