God's Ways Are Not Our Ways
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)
Jeremy Fairmont sat in the fourth pew with his family during Mr. Graham's funeral. Mr. Graham had been Jeremy's neighbor, his Sunday school teacher, and his friend. Jeremy was feeling very sick to his stomach and very sad in his heart. Mr. Graham's death just didn't make any sense at all. He had been driving his semi-truck on the highway for work, when another car's tire suddenly blew out. The car spun around and came into his lane, and Mr. Graham had not had time to stop his truck. Jeremy did not know all the details, but he knew that Mr. Graham had died right away. He could not understand why God would let someone as wonderful as Mr. Graham die. Wasn't God supposed to protect His people?
The people who had been in the other car were all fine. They were all Christians – in fact, they were all members of a different church on the other side of town! Jeremy knew that they had been thanking God for taking care of them during the wreck. This is what Jeremy could not understand. Why would God protect this other family of Christians on one side of the wreck, but choose not to protect Mr. Graham and not to spare his life? Jeremy knew that if Mr. Graham were alive right now, he would be praising God for protecting him, just like this other family was. So why didn't God let Mr. Graham live? Obviously, He could have, but He just didn't.
One reason Jeremy was so upset at Mr. Graham's funeral was that he had lost someone he loved dearly, and who loved him back. Death is never an easy thing to deal with, but the death of Christian is still nothing like the death of an unbeliever. Jeremy did have hope that he would see Mr. Graham again one day, in heaven; but what Jeremy could not understand was why God would protect the lives of some Christians in the wreck, but not protect Mr. Graham. Mr. Graham was one of the greatest Christians Jeremy had ever known. It seemed to make better sense for God to leave people like Mr. Graham here on Earth. If there were more people like Mr. Graham in the world, Jeremy thought, the world would have to be a better place, for sure.
After the funeral, Jeremy just sat in his family's van and cried. When the rest of the Fairmont family went inside the house, Jeremy's dad stayed in the van with him. Together, they began to talk through what the Bible teaches about the kind of character God has. They talked about how God does not think like we think. God is all-knowing; His thoughts are higher than ours. Even the smartest human being might not ever understand some of God's perfect reasoning. God never makes mistakes; His ways are better than our ways. God's timing and actions are perfectly planned. Even our best dreams and wishes and plans could never come close to the perfection of God's ways. God is loving; His affection is greater than ours. As much as we think we might love someone, and as much as we think we might know what's best for someone – God knows better, and God definitely loves more.
Based on what he knew of Mr. Graham, Jeremy could figure out a lot of great things that Mr. Graham had done and might be able to do in the future, if he had not died in that wreck. But, based on what he knew about God, Jeremy had to admit that God knew and loved Mr. Graham far more than Jeremy could ever dream. Deep down, Jeremy knew that was true. It was not going to be easy getting used to life without Mr. Graham around. But it helped a little to trust God's wisdom and perfection and love. Jeremy knew all those things about God in his head already, but it was a lot more difficult to learn them in his heart.
By the time Jeremy and his dad climbed out of the van, Jeremy was feeling a little better. He did not have to understand all God's reasons for sparing the other Christian family and taking Mr. Graham home to be with Him. Jeremy knew he just needed to keep trusting and obeying God, even when it didn't always make sense to him. Surely God – with His high wisdom and infinite love and perfect ways – surely He could more than fill up the giant hole that Mr. Graham's homegoing had left in Jeremy's heart. And Mr. Graham would have wanted that.
God thinks higher, loves greater, and plans more perfectly than any of us ever could.
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