DEUTERONOMY 4:29-31 – “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 “When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. 31 “For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.”
THEME OF THE DAY. HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS. Sooner or later we are going to learn the lesson. It might be early in our Christian journey or further down the path, but we are going to get it. And yes, it will be painful. Any growth or stretching of our faith requires pain because we don’t give up our self-sufficiency easily or stop leaning on our own understanding without resistance. The lesson? It is from the prophet Isaiah – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares 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 (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We will often be brought to deep personal experience of knowing God doesn’t work in our lives like we think He should, or as we would like Him to act. Why? Because God uses suffering to teach us His ways are not ours, and we don’t like pain. Yet, if we can see beyond the pain to what are the purposes behind these mysterious workings of God, we will make significant progress in spiritual maturity. And what are the purposes? Today’s scripture – a seeking of God, a restoring of one’s fellowship with God, and a greater awareness of His compassionate nature. Take a moment and ponder these glorious benefits of God sending trials and distresses in our lives. Who would not want a greater zeal in seeking God, a deeper fellowship with Him, and increasing personal experiences of His compassionate character? They are there for our taking . . . if we respond to His ways of dealing with us appropriately. Here are three responses in difficult times necessary for spiritual growth.
First, accept, I mean really accept by not complaining or rebelling, that God’s ways are not our ways. He is in control, not us. This is the first critical step to profit from difficulties in life; glad submission to God’s ways, even when we don’t have a clue what He is doing. Don’t be discouraged. With God, all things are possible, and that means glad submission to His ways.
Next, don’t try to figure what God is doing in our lives. He calls us to trust His ways, not understand His ways. Faith does not demand proof or all the answers. Faith says, “You are my Heavenly Father. I don’t know what is happening, but You do. It is enough for me. I trust you.”
Finally, if we are going to profit from trials and suffering, learning God’s ways are not our ways, we must keep the end goal in view – making us like the Lord Jesus. When things are hard and it appears all dark, cut through this fog and see what God is doing in us – conformity to His Son.
His ways are not our ways, and that is good – very good. Learn to trust Him in the dark. He will make all things clear in His timing when the most good will be accomplished.
PRAYER: “Father, help me know trying times are to draw me near You; to awaken me out of spiritual slumber.”
QUOTE: “God will do whatever it takes for us to seek Him, obey Him, and walk close to Him – even much trouble.”