I am analytical by nature. When it comes to figuring out how something works so I can use it, or getting to the root of a problem so I can move forward, that characteristic serves me well. But when it comes to finding answers to questions which have no complete answers, it costs me way too much time and energy.
Years ago after experiencing a relationship gone sour and trying to figure out why it happened, a wise person told me, “These things never have only one reason. Some parts we can figure out, others we never will.” I’ve thought of those words often. Realizing some questions have no humanly-known answers has relieved me of a lot of angst over the years.
But there’s another concept that has helped me even more. It is realizing that while God has given us freedom of choice, and our choices do have consequences, ultimately He determines the outcome. God can and does override our best efforts and redeem our worst mistakes to accomplish His purposes for us.
Could God have redeemed the “mistakes” made in that relationship gone sour and kept it intact? Absolutely. But to accomplish His purposes for good in each of our lives and far beyond them, He chose not to. How do I know that? Because I know God has our good at heart (Romans 8:28-20) and His ways and purposes are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). We have every reason to trust that the outcome He determines is the best possible one. He knows the purpose for which He created us and is faithfully directing our steps accordingly. Our part is to trust Him and accept what He’s doing, even if we don’t understand.
The wisest man who ever lived said in Proverbs 20:24, “Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way?”
I think of Job and his friends and their attempts to reconcile his godliness with his suffering. Unknown to all of them was what was happening in the spiritual realm, which, if they had known, would have answered their questions. What we know now that they didn’t, was that God had a purpose for it all that was greater than Job, his family, or his friends. In the end God blessed Job abundantly in spite of His seeming abandonment of him earlier.
While sometimes it seems God has abandoned us when life doesn’t go as we planned, if we but trust and wait, we too will see His faithfulness. It often comes in ways we had not envisioned. But we end up welcoming it with joy when we realize how it all fits into His purpose and plan for us.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 HCSB)