By Ward Shope
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
What is the Lord doing?
I don’t know. Honestly, I am completely without a clue – about any circumstance.
I can give you a final answer. I know he’s working all things out according to his will. I know that it is love that motivates him and that the end result will be for the good of everyone whom he calls to Himself and will bring him unimaginable glory – to the joy of us all. (Ephesians 1:3-14) But since that day has not yet come, I’m pretty much in the dark. I can’t tell you what God was up to in the devastation of the Bahamas this fall, where hundreds of people (friends, relatives, children) are still missing. And I can’t tell you why specific people I know are threatened by medically “no hope” prognoses or what purpose this serves for the Lord’s glory.
Is there any reason I should know? If God’s ways are not my ways, and his thoughts so much higher than my thoughts, how could I know? (Isaiah 58:8-9) This sovereign plan is so complex and takes into account more than 7.5 billion people alive on the planet at this moment, and thousands upon thousands of years from the dawn of creation. Mapping out the strands of his redemptive tapestry is beyond us. We struggle just to forecast the weather for tomorrow. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t expect me to know what he’s up to.
So how do we respond to our ignorance of the Lord’s ways?
We can always pray for what we want – as long as we aren’t praying something obviously against his Word. God loves us. How incredible it is to be considered children of God (1 John 3:1) with the invitation to ask him for whatever we think can bring glory to his name!! We don’t have to know how he will answer before we pray. We can simply ask. I don’t know how he listens to millions of prayers at one time, but I know that he does – each one. He’s God and He’s our Father.
We should feel free to feel what we feel – and bring that to the Lord. We all respond differently to any event due to closeness, personality, impact, experience, etc. Why is this hitting me so hard? Or why am I so numb about this? (Shouldn’t I feel worse?) At the very least, God listens to us, but spending time with him may help us see what is stirring or not stirring our emotions. As long as we’re openly approaching the Lord, your emotional response is not sinful. And we want to give others the freedom and space to feel more or less than we do.
What is God telling me in this event? Probably something. But that doesn’t mean this event is primarily about you, or even about our group. We do know it is about Jesus’ Kingdom. God is working his plan out. Because of that, we remain hopeful.
29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Our Father is calling us to respond in light of his Word, not according to what we can’t know. We can be sure He will do what is for our ultimate good and his glory even if when it grieves us or takes us by surprise.