Some things are constant and reliable. They are always true. Two plus two is always four.
Other things operate based on principles. We expect a certain outcome based on a rule of conduct.
A new car should be more dependable than the fifteen year old beater. Yet, an empty gas tank, or slashed tires (don’t ask me why that came to mind), or faulty components could significantly alter the anticipated outcome.
When it comes to God, He is constant and reliable.
When it comes to His ways, they are constantly and reliably in-line with His character. They are not, however, constant with our self-imposed rules of conduct. We, and our ways, are not so reliable.
We think we know what should happen based on a limited perspective of God and call that faith. Like reward chart mentality we think…Trust God enough, do good enough and earn His favor. Win a good prize. One good thing deserves another good thing.
Friends – that’s not faith.
Faith trusts His constancy and reliability over our feeble, wobbly ways.
Faith trusts God because He is trustworthy. Even when, even if, even though and even through.
K.P. Yohannan, in his book, “Living by Faith not by Sight” says,
From the world’s perspective faith often looks foolish and illogical. But faith trusts God to do what He has promised, no matter how foolish the steps He asks us to take may seem. There is nothing of man’s way in faith.
And so it is with the ways of God. There is nothing of man’s way in the ways of God. His ways seem ironic to us.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.- Isaiah 55:8-9
If it were up to us, the Bible would be re-written in many ways.
We wouldn’t have chosen the young shepherd David to be king when his brawny brothers were more appealing.
We wouldn’t have allowed this same small boy to face a giant, alone, unprotected by armor.
We wouldn’t have allowed Mary & Joseph to travel when she was expecting. Who thinks that’s a good idea? No, she would have had the BEST room.
We wouldn’t have had the King of Kings born to an unwed, teenage girl, in a stable. Anti-bacterial wipes anyone?
If it were up to us we would miss seeing the mighty hand of God bring about His plans for redemption and salvation.
Shoot, we might have created a world that never needed saving in the first place, and I find that rather boring. And lacking love.
I could tell you story after story of people who were used to bring about God’s glory in ways we certainly wouldn’t choose. I’ll bet you know many of them too. And if we know these stories, why do we keep doubting God’s ways in our own lives?
God’s ways are ironic. They are fully constant and reliable and in-line with His character, but they are often done through the most unlikely of means. They are often done in ways that make no sense to us. Faith trusts His ways even when when they seem to be anything but good.
We think He should give us a spouse, a child, a promotion, a book deal, a job…because we deserve it, because we’ve waited long enough, because our good deeds deserve His good reward.
Those stories I shared in part one? They are a just a few of the times when God allowed circumstances that were far different than what I wanted or expected. I struggled to understand and struggled to see the good. As I wrestled, the Lord was faithful, even when I wasn’t.
He didn’t change the circumstances, He used them.
He didn’t take away the pain, He was present in it.
Friends – His ways are not our ways. His ways are always for our good and His glory.
That is a constant you can rely on.