I guess this blog is just me exposing all of the things I struggle with in my little mind and then talking myself into being better, which may or may not just make you think I'm an idiot. But that's ok, I am one, so I'll keep posting and let you get any encouragement or wisdom you can from my mistakes. :)
Anyway, the class I was in at services tonight impacted me, and I'm hoping that a couple of things from it (which I had been thinking and reading about this past week) will help you or encourage thought on your part.
We talked a lot about dealing with pain and seeing other people's problems and not understanding God's plan or why things happen in our lives sometimes. We live in a world where intellect is revered, knowledge is necessary, and we all want to (and think we do) know everything about everything. So our faith wavers (Psalm 73) so many times when we look around us and can't see a formula for WHY someone who is sinful is seemingly rewarded and a righteous friend is diagnosed with cancer. We just can't make sense of it.
But honestly, God never says we will. He, in fact, says we won't. He says His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways. Our minds don't work on the same level as His. That doesn't mean that His plans aren't good. It means He's all-knowing and perfect and has a bigger plan in mind than just my feelings on this one day. When Job went through every terrible ordeal possible without a break, but God still didn't accept his questioning. God essentially responded with a list of all the magnificent things He can do that Job couldn't understand, leaving Job to only respond "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted....Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
The fact is, God's plans for His people are bigger than ME. And I won't be able to see His plan perfectly. There's no formula that says "One bad year + faith = 3 years of plenty" so that I can expect some great times of no pain, and there's no formula that says that I should be able to have a happy life because I love God. In fact, we're so hasty to figure out God's plan for our lives that many times we misinterpret what's going on around us and try to staple it on to some roadmap we've made for our lives, pretending we can see His path for us. The fact is, there are just going to be things we can't explain. There are going to be people who die who we wouldn't have let go yet if it was up to us, and there's not going to be a clear reason for it. There is going to be heartache and frustration and persecution that doesn't make sense to me, and during hard times we won't know what's ahead or what God's plan is in that hardship. So today, pray that your faith won't be hinged on your view of "God's plan," but that instead you'll have the faith to live today and do the good you can today to the people you see today. Because His ways are higher than our ways, and while we can always trust that He has a good plan for His people, don't assume that your plan is the good plan. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. And we are not the ones to decide what's good, by any means. Just look at our lives.
"I may see something in this world as completely ridiculous, that is a perfect part of God's plan. His thoughts are higher than mine are." (Todd Snapp)
Since I can't know all that God has planned, and should be careful about what I attribute to "His plan" (since my plans won't work out like I expect and that can shake my faith), what do we do? How do we get along?
I may not know what God's plan is, but I do know what His will is.
What a blessing that despite the fact that I don't understand His purposes or my future or the future of any of the ones I love, I know how He wants me to live this day. And I know that if I keep living this day how He wants me to, and every day after this day, no matter what chaos is around me, He has a home for me. That's the only plan I need to grasp right now.
Today, pray for trust and focus that we can follow His will even when we can't understand His plan. Today, like Asaph in Psalm 73, go to the Lord for comfort and peace and blessed assurance. When we just trust His greater knowledge and know that we can't understand all the ins-and-outs of His plan, it's comforting. God KNOWS me. And God LOVES me. That's all that I need to know to do His will and get along in life.
And just like my great friend David Smelser said (yes this is 2 shout-outs to DPS in 8 posts. Get used to it), "Just because your life isn't easier because you serve God doesn't mean your life isn't better because you serve God."
After all, the most unfair thing that has ever happened was Jesus dying for us when we were at our darkest. The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. (Yes, I'm quoting Relient K.)
"It may not be the way I would have chosen when You lead me through a world that's not my home, but You never said it would be easy, You only said I'd never go alone."
"Should Thy mercy send me
Sorrow, toil, and woe;
Or should pain attend me
On my path below;
Grant that I may never
Fail Thy hand to see,
Grant that I may ever
Cast my care on Thee."