Have you ever just sat and thought about how limited your understanding is of God’s plan? Out of all the things that have happened to you in your life, have you actually understood the purpose? Let me give you some examples.
I didn’t understand why I was diagnosed with MS after having type 1 diabetes for so long.
I didn’t understand why I had to deal with my parents’ divorce when I was in high school.
I didn’t understand why I didn’t get the job in Denver, but did get the job in Colorado Springs when I first applied for a nursing job.
Now, in hindsight, I do understand some of the “why” for these things. Whether you do or don’t believe that God has a plan for you, there is often a limited understanding of why things happen. When we don’t understand something, we try to put our own spin on it, or make excuses.
For example, the Bible says life is a gift and that God knows who you are, even before you were in the womb (Psalm 127:3, Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Deuteronomy 24:16). But, what if pregnancy happens because of horrible circumstances? Doesn’t the woman have a right to choose? The Bible says every human being is made in God’s image and that homosexuality is wrong (1 Timothy 1:8-11). But what if you’re born that way and can’t help it? What if you feel that you were born the wrong gender? The Bible commends sexual purity before marriage, which is an unpopular opinion today (Ephesians 5:3, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Hebrews 13:4). But what if you get married and you’re not sexually compatible? Shouldn’t you figure that out beforehand? What if you love the person you’re with, but aren’t married? What about sexual freedom?
In our effort to understand purpose or make sense of our culture, we try to justify our actions and, as a result, argue against what the Bible says. In doing that, we are absolutely leaning on our own understanding. We have an incessant need to understand why things are happening (or why things are wrong) because of a choice we made or because of something happening out of our control. God bringing something beautiful out of something horrible can be beyond our comprehension. Bringing a beautiful life out of something so horrible as rape is hard to wrap our minds around. Illness can be a senseless occurrence. I see so many questions in life about why things are happening. I’ve had some questions myself. And despite humanity’s best efforts, those answers are elusive. Even if you aren’t a believer, this concept can’t be foreign to you.
The thing is, we are not necessarily supposed to understand “why.” Maybe we understand “why” later on in life, maybe we never will. The thing is, we aren’t supposed to completely understand God’s ways. The only things that are absolute come from God, hence, the Bible. The Bible does not say “lean not on your own understanding” for no reason (Proverbs 3:5).
So, what is your own understanding? Where are your questions coming from? We all live lives colored by our own experiences. Tragic events that happen in the world happen because of multiple reasons, sometimes caused by other people. But, by what values are those people living by? Is God responsible for the way they live? Are you blaming God for what happened to you? We don’t always understand why God allows things to happen. Maybe it’s because you need to grow in faith or learn patience. Maybe it’s because God is trying to bring you back to Him. Maybe following God’s ways seems ridiculous or old fashioned, but He is trying to help you avoid tragedy. Maybe God knows better things are coming for you. Maybe you are going to save someone else by what you’re going through. Just like the work of God is a real thing, the work of the devil is a real thing. To think that we know better than God or that we are smarter than God is absolutely ludicrous.
I grew in my faith after my debacle with being diagnosed with MS. I learned that I needed to give things over to God. I learned forgiveness, patience, and reconciliation through my parents’ divorce. Everything in my life has had a purpose, whether I know what that purpose is or not. Sometimes I join right in with asking those “why” questions. But there’s always a reminder of God’s goodness at some point. God’s plan is not meant to be understandable to us.
Trying to make sense of God’s plan is only human, but sometimes we just need to sit in the unknown and have faith that there is a purpose. Certainly easier said than done, but an important concept to consider. God deals in the unknown, in the unexplained, and the impossible. He transforms our hearts and minds. We just need to have the faith that He is working for our good, but not based on our understanding of “good”. Leaning on our understanding of things just leads us right down a rabbit hole. God knows what you need, and He will provide. It’s a beautiful thing when something clicks in your head and you realize “why,” but that is a rare occurrence. God just doesn’t always make sense in our limited understanding of the world, and that’s okay.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”