Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“Our Lord is great…we’ll never comprehend what He knows and does.” ~ Psalm 147:5

Do you ever struggle with understanding God's will? Of course, on one hand we all know that there is absolutely no way to understand God's will or God's plan. He is so much more than we can imagine and He is not limited by our understanding. On the other hand, we all try at times to figure out what He should do or why He does some things. Most of the time, I just try to let go and be content with the fact that I can't know or won't know and He is in control.

“I had to be willing to live inside the mystery…Some things in life will never make sense. They won’t be made right or explained. At least in our lifetime. They float around in a swirl of mystery. I wanted God to explain all that mystery to me before I agreed to trust Him. But I discovered it doesn’t work that way. He is God, and He doesn’t have to explain anything. When I understood that, then I could surrender to Christ and step inside the mystery instead of stand back and resist.”
~ Robin Jones Gunn

This reminds me of a conversation Josh & I were having on Friday night. We had dinner with our beloveds and the topic of conspiracy theories came up. This is fascinating stuff for Josh and he really gets into it. It's not a favorite topic of mine, but I was trying to explain to him what I think about it. Yes, conspiracies and cover-ups exist and while it is interesting to discuss and research we will never know for certain the answer to questions like - who killed JFK? was Marilyn Monroe killed or did she really commit suicide? did aliens land on earth and exist in Area 51? etc. We won't know the answers because people don't want us to know and maybe we shouldn't need to know everything. I can be frustrated that I don't know the answers, or I can just let it go and trust that it's in my best interest to not know. And in regards to conspiracy theories, sometimes I just don't care enough to research or ponder. It's kind of like God's will - we can't know everything even if we want to and we can either be frustrated or just be content to trust Him.

"God wants us to realise His sovereignty. We are apt to tie God up in His own laws and allow Him no free will. We say we know what God will do, and suddenly He upsets all our calculations by working in unprecedented ways; just when we expected He would do a certain thing, He did the opposite. There are unexpected issues in life; unexpected joys when we looked for sorrow, and sorrow when we expected joy, until we learn to say, all my expectations are from Thee." ~ Oswald Chambers

God works in mysterious and, what can seem to us, contradictory ways. He is gracious when we would be judgmental. He is loving when we would be angry. He allows us to hurt when we want Him to heal. He can see the big picture that we are incapable of seeing from our limited perspective. He moves in our lives in ways we don't understand and can't imagine. Most often we can see more clearly looking back the hows and whys of things we have to go through - and sometimes we never understand but we have to choose to trust that even in our inability to understand He is in control.

“Consider what God has done: who can straighten what He has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”
~ Ecclesiastes 7:13-14b

“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Learning to be content in our circumstances and learning to trust God even when we don't understand...that is difficult. That is something we learn our whole lives. And just because we get scared and forget to trust doesn't mean we failed forever. It's then that we put our hand back in His and say "I trust You." I struggle with this a lot. I do believe that God is in control and I do trust that He has a plan. But when troubles come, as they always do, I tend to get worried and scared and wonder what in the world I am going to do. I take my eyes off of God and try to succeed on my own...and always fail...and then I am reminded that He is in control, that all I have to do is trust Him.

“Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” ~ Psalm 113:5-6

 “By Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible.” ~ Colossians 1:16

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher that your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:9

Do you ever think about how big God is? How majestic and amazing and incredible He is? He has always existed. He created everything. He created us and knows every intimate detail of us. He knows how many hairs are on your head. He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to come and die for our sins and be resurrected so that we could have the opportunity to be with Him forever. Everything that we see and understand - He knows. Even the things we don't understand and don't see - He sees them and knows them. He is so much more than we can imagine or understand. It can be overwhelming, but in the best possible way. Because He is so big and He is completely in control we are able to rest in Him...we are able to be content. But we have to trust Him.

“You can’t always see God’s purposes in every season, but you can always have His peace, His presence, and His promises.”
~ Christine Caine

"According to the wisdom of this world, God seems to be haphazard. He is not calculable in His providence; He works in ways we cannot estimate. If we try to work things out in logical ways, we are apt to find that suddenly in the providence of God a great upheaval comes we had never calculated on." ~ Oswald Chambers

“God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?” ~ Numbers 23:19

It's incredible to look back at ways that God has provided. Things that don't make sense or that shouldn't be important. Like the unicorn stuffed animal that I wanted as a child and God provided through the relationship of a man who recycled trash with the neighborhood who noticed and set things aside for him. I didn't NEED a unicorn, but how blessed I continue to be knowing that God heard and provided a simple child's heartfelt prayer request. Or how God provided ice and a chair with a back in the midst of training camp - just when I needed it and even before I thought to pray about it. God knows everything about us. He knows the things we are afraid to imagine or ask for in prayer. He knows the things we're scared to admit. He knows our fears and our joys and our struggles. 

“Our stories affect one another whether we know it or not. Sometimes obedience isn’t for us at all, but for another. We don’t know how God holds the kingdom in balance or why He moves a chess piece at a crucial time; we might never see the results of His sovereignty. But we can trust Him when He says press on, cling to hope, stay the course. He is always at work, even if the entire thread is hidden. I might just be one shade of one color of one strand, but I’m a part of an elaborate tapestry that goes beyond my perception.” ~ Jen Hatmaker

One of the ways I see God's hand at work is in my best friend. We've known each other for 21 years and in those years we've had our ups and downs. We fought over the same guy, we went to different schools during our senior year in high school, we struggled with growing up and growing apart, and though we've had some pretty difficult times apart, God has always brought our lives back together. I don't understand why this one relationship has been able to break and hurt and then heal and grow even stronger so many times but I know it's simply due to God at work in the two of us.

Over the past few years, I have seen a change in my best friend. Something I had prayed for, but to be honest wasn't sure would ever happen. I always loved her as she was and did my best to be the best friend possible. But in her now I see a depth of love and trust in the Lord that has truly been a miracle. It's not that life has gotten easier - in fact, she's had many struggles. But she trusts God with her life - she has sought forgiveness from people she hurt and forgiven people who had hurt her, she frequently asks for prayer and often gives such good advice and Godly wisdom and it just blesses my heart. I have always been grateful for her friendship and I am doubly thankful for the ways that I've learned more about God through her and the ways He keeps drawing our hearts together as friends and sisters.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

I think God just loves to go above and beyond our wildest imaginings...He must get such joy from blowing our minds. And even when we experience difficult things that make us question God, we have to remind ourselves that He is God and what He knows we may not be able to understand but He does and all we have to do is trust Him. Yes, it can be hard to do this...but when we do we can have His peace. We like to have control...or think we have control. But really it's an illusion. What we can trust is God - He is faithful, He is love, He is God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God …will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

“O LORD, You know what’s good and bad, what’s better and worse, what’s best and worst – may my prayer be as You wish it to be.”
~ Thomas a Kempis

Last week, a coworker shared this wonderful illustration at our monthly staff meeting. Whenever we tell someone we care about "I love you", they usually will respond with "I love you too." Well, since we know that God loves us and is always telling us "I love you", then we should respond with "I love you too." I'm definitely going to try to remember this...maybe you will too.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for being trustworthy and faithful. Thank You for being so much more that I can possibly imagine and for designing this beautiful world and all that is in it. Help me to remember to trust You even when I don't understand or whenever I'm scared and feel alone or worried. Bring reminders to mind of Your faithfulness so that I remember to place my complete trust in You. I know You have a plan for my life and I want to trust You to fulfill that purpose in whatever ways You desire. Thank You for loving me. I love you too. Amen.

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