Wednesday, August 27, 2008

His Ways Are Not Our Ways

"'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'" (Is. 55:8-9, NIV). This passage is fairly well-known, but those who use the verses-stand-alone approach to memorizing Scripture may not realize that the full context of Isaiah 55 focuses on abundant blessings, prosperity, and hope. "God's purposes are higher than ours" is not a truth to be used solely in attempts (which are rarely all that successful anyway) to comfort those who are reeling from tragedy. Even more should we remember it when tempted to wonder why God accepts the undeserving, keeps after the stubborn, blesses the repentant-but-still-ragged, and thinks in terms of restoration before restitution. We should be glad He doesn't work on the merit system, since none of us "deserves" anything good from Him!

Of course, when disaster has struck, when it seems we have plenty to worry about, or even when we're just tempted to curse our "bad luck" over some everyday annoyance, we do need to remind ourselves that "God knows best and we don't." But even that is better handled with a focus on abundant blessings. A resigned "I guess I'll have to trust God" attitude tends to lead to glum stoicism.

But focusing on the positive--all we still have, and all God has yet promised--is the key to true joy.

God does not condone disorder--
Neither is He neat and tidy.
Though He lets us make our messes,
Do not doubt that He is mighty.

God is never in a hustle--
Never late, yet never early.
Though your soul may grow impatient,
Do not nag at Him to hurry.

We are foolish, as mere mortals,
To believe that we know better;
Though our Lord made all Creation,
We would keep Him on a fetter.

Even time is His creation:
He sees all the days of history
All as part of one great picture:
Future holds no trace of mystery.

Trust your Lord; allow no worry
To distract you, nor life's testing.
You need never feel abandoned;
God is working a great blessing!

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