God’s Ways Are Not Always Our Ways

Read: Isaiah 55:8-11

“O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?”

In the face of personal tragedy, are we always justified in saying, “It was God’s will?” When a little child dies on the operating table as the result of professional negligence, is it right to say that God wills the infant’s death? When a village is devastated by a flood, tornado, or earthquake, is it right to say that it was God’s will? When humans abuse, fight, and even kill each other, is it right to say that God willed it?

Surely not! Admittedly, the ways of God are “past finding out”, and it will do us no good to philosophize about what is “in the mind of the Lord.” We do know that the God revealed to us in the message of the Gospel is above all the God of love. Indeed, St. John tells us that “God is love.” He is also righteous, just and holy, but in His dealings with His believing children He merges all of His divine attributes into a primary attribute of love. “God showed His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

But we are still living in a world that is out of joint —out of harmony with God because of sin. And sin has brought with it its curse: sorrow, suffering, and death to all mankind. Christ told His followers that, as long as they were in this world, they could expect tribulation…but in Him they could find peace. Tragedy, trial, and tribulation entered the world not because of God’s will but because of man’s disobedience.

Consequently, we dare not say that each specific misfortune that befalls us is the result of a specific act of God’s will. That would be a denial of God’s assurance: “There is therefore no condemnation (no divine judgment) to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1   No matter what difficulty, we know that we are under the over-ruling providence of Him who loves us and that His ultimate will for us is always good.

Prayer: Lord, let me live every day in the assurance of Your grace. Amen.

How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.