Friday, June 3, 2011

He moves in inscrutable ways

I often find myself trying to figure God out. Why'd He do that? Why didn't He do that? Why is He taking so long? So many "why" questions can be asked in such a tumultuous world. And so many more such questions can be aroused as we read about how God hardened some to reject the Gospel and softened others to accept it (Romans 10:20-21; 11:25; see also 11:26-27). But then I feel stopped in my tracks by the apostle Paul's response in Romans 11:33 (ESV)... "Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!"

I don't think I have ever used the word "inscrutable" in a conversation. It means mysterious or beyond comprehension. In other words, God's ways won't always make sense to us. He has mercy on some and hardens others (Romans 9:18). He creates some for destruction and others for glory (Romans 9:23). And as Christians, the Bible tells us that God ordains that we should suffer in afflictions (1 Thess. 3:3) as well as succeed in good works (Ephesians 2:10). What a mishmash! It's tempting to want to argue with God about such ways, but then I wonder who am I as such a small and limited created being to argue with such a great and infinite Creator (Romans 9:20)?

On the days when I get really frustrated with God's ways or God's timing or God's choices, I think it's really important for me to remember that I'm not God and can't possibly expect to fully grasp his ways. Like Job, I sometimes need to cover my mouth before answering God rashly (Job 40:4). Yes, God has revealed a great deal about Himself to us in His Word, but that can tempt us to think that we should always have enough data to be able to figure God out. And yet, however much God has revealed to us about Himself, we need to remember that His thoughts and ways will still always be higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and that He will continue to move in inscrutable ways. So on those days when I'm frustrated with God, it's far better for me to simply yield to His ways and trust "the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God" than to get offended because I can't figure Him out.

© 2011 by Ken Peters

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