Why We Get Confused

There is a lot of confusion in the world surrounding who God is, what He is capable of doing, and why he does, or does not, do the things we think he should.  This confusion is not confined to the non-believing world, but includes much of the believers, too.

This blog is not about to shed any great insight or reveal hidden things about God that is not already known or can be gained through study.  It is merely a simple reminder.

Reminder of what?  Simply, that we are not God.

Whether we like it or not, and whether we understand it or not, God’s ways are not our ways.  In order to better understand God, we must change our ways so they better align with His ways.  Any other way will result in more confusion rather than improved understanding.

In order to get a grasp on what I’m saying, let’s take a concrete example.  My dad contracted cancer in about 1979.  He went through surgery and chemo.  Many prayers went up for my dad, but in spite of all the efforts he died in 1982, at the young age of 61.  Why did he have to die?  Why couldn’t the prayers of believing saints change the outcome?  Why did others get to live to many years beyond 61, and my dad be taken at 61?

The short answer is, we simply don’t know.  And I suspect there are thousands, perhaps, millions of other unanswered questions regarding why God does what He does, and sometimes doesn’t do what we want Him to do, or doesn’t do it in the time we expect.

Although, I cannot answer the questions (and anyone who projects that they can answer these questions you need to run away from!) I can provide some general guidance as to why we have an ongoing problem with understanding God and His ways.

Consider this well known situation – Paul and Silas have been preaching the gospel.  For their effort they are beaten and thrown into jail.  As they were singing and praising God an earthquake occurs and their bonds are loosed.  The jailer, and his household, are saved.  All of this is fine and good, and shows God’s power and mercy in time of trouble, which is also wonderful.  But, there is a mystery here, nonetheless.  If, instead of being delivered from jail, if God had delivered Paul and Silas from being beaten and thrown into jail in the first place, wouldn’t that also be good, and might have saved the backs of Paul and Silas from pain and harm?  The answer, of course, is yes, that is possible, but that is not what God did.  The most plausible reasons for why God would do it this way have to do with His insight and understanding of, not just a few things, but all things.  He sees not only what is good for now, but what is good for the future, too.  If God’s purpose in allowing Paul and Silas to be beaten and then rescued was to simply provide salvation to the jailer and his household, wouldn’t that be worth a beating?

The problem we have with the above reasoning has to do with knowing God could have it both ways, if He wanted to.  In other words, our thinking is, save Paul and Silas from a painful beating AND save the jailer and his household.  Makes perfect sense, but it is missing a critical element.  And this is where God’s all knowing knowledge and wisdom play a part.  When God allows someone to endure something that is unpleasant (think beating), there are many reasons, beyond our ability to understand, why this must be so.  Let’s go back to my dad.  The simplest way of understanding my dad’s death is to simply acknowledge there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes), a time to be born, and a time to die.  While this doesn’t answer the question, why now?, it does put into perspective there are some things that are simply in God’s hands, and not ours.  There was a reason, and perhaps many, why God allowed Paul and Silas to be beaten.

Many Christians, I believe, look at God as kindly old grandfather who can give us things, or grant our wishes.  It really is a bit more than that.  God has a plan.  In fact He has many plans.  He has a plan for the world, the world that now is, and the world to come.  He has a plan for His church, and He has a plan for each individual.  In this plan nothing is left to chance, but everything serves a purpose.  It is not random, although from our perspective it may appear to be random.

If God has a plan, is it a plan we can understand?  Yes, but not now.  Why not now?  Interesting question.  In years past I posed that question to God on many occasions, and He never answered me.  One day, when I asked that same question, I did get an answer.  It was simply this, “If I told you, you wouldn’t understand.”

Why couldn’t I understand?  God’s plan is so vast, and takes into account so many things, there is no way the mortal human being can grasp it or comprehend it.  His plan includes not only His plans for you, but includes the plans of the people you come into contact with.  It includes the plans He has for your children, and their children, and their children, for a thousand generations to come.  Do you really think you can comprehend a plan that is that vast?  Although, you may be a genius, I think not.

So, what are we to do?  Our goal in life should be the same as it was for Jesus.  He stated His purpose in life to be ‘to fulfill the will of my Father.’  In other words, His plans must become our plans.  If we can do that then everything else will fall into place.  Does it mean it will be smooth sailing?  No, there may be some beatings in it, but rest assured it all serves a purpose.

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One Response to “Why We Get Confused”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    I just had this conversation with someone this week that was having a hard time understanding why God allowed a certain situation to happen. This blog sheds excellent insight on the subject! Perfect timing and a great writing to ponder! blessings…

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