Our Ways are not God’s Ways – Holiness Concluded

Another way we make God unholy is in trying to understand Him, His thoughts, His ways, His plans and His purposes.

When things happen to us in life, we want to know WHY. Why did God allow it to happen?

Frequently, we will not get the answer. First of all, it’s irrelevant. If you accept that (1) God is sovereign; and (2) God loves us and always intends the best for us, then we need to have faith that He knows what He’s doing. Secondly, if God did tell us the reason, we’d probably argue with Him and second guess Him. “Couldn’t you have achieved the same purpose a different (easier) way?” Thirdly, we do not understand that God’s purposes are not our purposes. The harsh truth is that God doesn’t care about your happiness – He cares about growing your spiritual development and achieving His eternal purposes. That’s not to say God doesn’t love us, wants to bless us, and delights in our happiness. But our happiness is not His overriding concern. Children would be happy eating chocolate all day, but a good parent gives the child broccoli instead. God is the best parent, so He feeds us spiritual vegetables. We may want a beautiful house and car, but God’s idea of the ultimate gift may be spiritual strength which comes through enduring a bankruptcy. We may want excellent health, but God may want for us to have the closer relationship with Him that results in battling cancer. Clearly His gift is the best, but I dare to say we would never choose it based on what we have to go through to get it.

Furthermore, God’s plans and purposes are not the same for everyone. Daniel was saved from the lion’s den, but thousands of other Christians were eaten by lions. Did God love Daniel more? The apostle John died of old age; does that mean God loved John more than Peter who was crucified upside down? Paul was freed from prison; John the Baptist’s prison stay ended when he was beheaded. Did you ever think about the wives of some of these guys? How did they feel being widowed with no support for their children? Did they wonder why God saved someone else’s husband and not theirs?

Job never asked God “why” and he never found out, either. You may lose a baby to a heart defect, a spouse to a car accident, your eyesight, your job and never know the reason why. Quite frankly, our simple human brains could not possibly fathom God’s reasons even if we knew them. God’s sense of the world is far different from ours. Take Jesus’ parable about the workers being paid for their labor. One worker negotiated the salary for a day’s work and worked sunrise to sunset. Another worker came on the job when the day was half over; he, too, negotiated the same wage. My paper and pencil tell me that’s not fair. But Jesus said it was fair. When we think of the trillions of details God manages every day and the fact that He sees past, present and future of everything, we couldn’t possible understand why He allows something to happen to any one person at any one time. Nor should we try. To presume to understand God – or to demand an explanation from Him – attempts to bring God down to our level. We are common; He is uncommon – holy. To reduce God to our understanding would make Him unholy.

God sometimes does allow us to see why He does something. Joseph had such a moment when his brothers stood before him in Egypt and he said, “What you intended for harm, God intended for good.” God allowed Joseph the hindsight of realizing if his brothers hadn’t sold him into slavery, he would never have been in Egypt to interpret the king’s dream and prepare for the seven years of famine. All of Egypt and Israel – including Joseph and his family – would have perished as a result. When God gives you a glimpse of His fingerprints on the “tragedies” of your life, be thankful for that gift. But when He doesn’t, take the opportunity to build your faith in Him that He is sovereign and always good. That keeps God holy in your mind and heart.

Next time we’ll move on to a different topic.


1 Comment »

  1. Ann said

    I just read your last two posts. Hmmm, can’t say I totally agree. I think God presents himself in different ways to different people, whether that’s casual or formal, one religious sect or another, He knows the best method to reach different people (cultures, socioeconomic, races, etc.). Maybe the best way to reach some of us now is a less formal church service?

    As to not fearing God, I’ve always had issues with this topic. God created us in His image, so it would seem that questioning authority figures is something He is clearly OK with (see the barganing in the bible, geeze I can’t recall the name offhad, in the Sodom and Gamorah story I believe).

    I have faith in God, but I cannot follow anyone or any god blindly. I believe He would want me to question, and do so respectfully, but not fearfully. Those who truely fear a dictator often quash their beliefs and fail to speak up in the face of wrongful acts. I don’t believe God would want that. Historically, fear has been used to manipulate, to create an Us vs. Them mentalitiy that is then used by human leaders (kings, dictators, presidents, or church leaders) as an excuse to steal, kill and harm others to get what they want (money, power, land, all corporeal desires). I don’t believe those are God’s concerns. He is focused on our spiritual possessions, so to speak, not corporeal desires. As such, love is the key ingredient, not fear.

    God is parenting the human race, not sheep. He wants, and deserves, our greatest respect and love, but not abject fear. Do I respect my parents? Yes. Do I think they would intentionally cause me perminant harm? No. I feel the same way about God. Yes, he could squash me like a bug – or turn me into a bug and then squash me – but I don’t believe he would.

    God wants us to think for ourselves, which means asking questions, not being afraid to ask. How can we, as His children, grow up without asking questions or even questioning His authority on occassion? Isn’t that part of the process?

    OK, I’ve rambled enough. I hope my stream of thought is somewhat coherent.

    P.S. Catherine was baptized last weekend, I’ve got to get you some photos soon. 😉

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