WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND Andy Hollifield 1-12-19
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
That is a hard verse to digest isn’t it? There are a lot of things that happen in our lives that we just can’t understand. I have learned throughout my life, and still learning, that God saved me because I was a sinner that needed salvation. He didn’t save me so I could be an advisor to him. I also don’t have a seat on a board to where he needs to clear what he does through me and get my approval. The sooner we get that figured out, the better off we are. You can’t really accept help from someone when you are mad at them. When we get bitter about how God does things, we aren’t receptive to his help.
I have always had a hard time understanding cancer. I have seen it take family and friends both young and old. Probably the biggest thing I can’t understand is why babies die and also why little kids have birth defects or handicaps. I have wrestled that for years and I don’t believe there is a satisfactory answer. Another thing is why good people die and it seems like heathens live forever. I have a partial answer for that one though. Good people die because, if they have accepted the Lord, they are ready and have finished their course in this life. God is being merciful when he allows the heathens to live a long time. He is giving them every opportunity possible to repent and accept him as their Savior. As far as cancer, babies, and kids, I have come to the conclusion that God knows best and we don’t have to understand it, we just have to trust the Lord and accept it. I say that with some experience, having lost a child through miscarriage.
As I look back at my life, I can see numerous things that, given the chance I would do a lot different than I did. That is why it pays to walk with the Lord. Had I been as close to the Lord as I tried to make people believe I was, I would have made some much different decisions on some things. It is true that hindsight is 20/20. Since we can’t relive the past and have no promise of tomorrow, we have to live in the present in a way pleasing to him.
Although Isaiah 55:9 may not bring comfort as far as explaining things, it does bring some comfort. Can you imagine facing the things I have mentioned and having to rely on our own understanding for comfort? It is comforting to know that we do serve a God that not only knows all things but can do all things. He can give his peace that passes all understanding in those times. I’m no theologian but I do have a pretty good understanding of that verse, Philippians 4:7. I believe it means having peace when it makes absolutely no sense that you would have peace. If you ever experience that kind of peace once, you will desire it when you get in one of those type of situations again. It is good to know that God is “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). “All comfort.” Not just a little bit but all that we need in our situation.
We sing a song from the old Stamps/Baxter red hymnal called “Grace For Every Need.” I have learned in a lot of different situations, God does have the exact grace we need. Like he told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “… My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” When we feel like we have gone as far as we can go, God’s strength will carry us through. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Sometimes, when we don’t understand what God is doing, it is hard to trust with all of our heart. He tells us in those times we can’t count on our understanding but if we will acknowledge him, he will direct us how we should go. It is hard to follow his paths when we don’t know where he is leading. “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
We don’t have to like what he is doing all the time but we do have to trust him all the time. Jonah is a good picture of the results of not trusting God. I am not talking about being swallowed by the fish but about the sermon he preached. Do you realize that he preached one sermon and over 120,000 repented in sackcloth and ashes and even covered their livestock with sackcloth and ashes. Jonah was still so bitter about what he had suffered for his disobedience, that he couldn’t enjoy the fact that God had just let him become the most successful evangelist ever. One message and over 120,000 souls trusting the Lord and repenting and he was bitter about it. I have been in that shape when I had my kidney transplant. I was so scared and bitter and also way out of God’s will, that I couldn’t even see how he was going to use that, then and now, to reach others. His thought and ways were definitely far above mine. You miss out on those blessings when you don’t fully trust him when you don’t understand. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!