My phone was clipped to my hip pocket and my earbuds were streaming. I was listening to a favorite podcast during my morning prep routine. The podcast usually finishes before I’m ready, but this particular one ran a bit long. I dawdled around the house until the clock demanded it was time to go.
Still tuned in to the podcast, I headed out the door, but halted with, “I can’t leave without my phone!”
“But where did I leave it?” I chimed back.
I retraced my steps, scanning every surface, muttering over and over, “Where did I put my phone?”
Excitement began to rise as I ran out of options . . . then I glimpsed the cord dangling from my neck!
I was so focused on one thing, I could hardly manage thinking of anything else.
Away I went, clueless to the fact that this theme would repeat itself throughout the day.
To fully appreciate the rest of the story, I have to take you back to where it all began—before the sun even rose that very morning…
Earlier that same morning, I petitioned the Lord’s guiding wisdom with a major decision I’ve been wrestling over. I’m desperate to do the right thing, the right way, at the right time. Considering my track record, I just don't trust myself to get all that right. So, I prayed, “Don’t let me lean upon my own understanding but submit to the Lord’s wisdom and will.” I further determined to pray that all day, every day.
Every time the thought came to mind, I uttered that simple prayer. Over and over . . . and over again. Throughout every activity of the day I repeated that one-line prayer.
Something came up in the course of the day, however, when I relied upon my own instincts—convinced I knew what I was doing. Well-versed in self-communication, I told myself, “I’ve got everything under control. I know what I’m doing.” I made my own decisions on the fly. Wrong ones. Instead of pausing to seek wisdom, or think things through, I charged ahead—all the while praying, “Don’t let me lean upon my own understanding.”
But I was so focused on one thing, I could hardly manage thinking of anything else.
Mentally processing the course of the day at day’s end, I was utterly humbled at the realization of the extent of my inability to wisely juggle multiple situations at a given time—and not even complex ones.
I say all that because . . .
It’s not uncommon for humans to question God. Question His wisdom. His righteousness. We question His decision-making. Question His judgments. His justice.
And bemoan unfairness.
When the ways of the world go horribly wrong, (and they often do) we might find ourselves questioning God.
As if we could do a better job of it!
The ancient Hebrew Book of Job brilliantly instructs us in this propensity.
To drastically summarize: After suffering horribly, Job poured out his lament to God. He accused God of not acting justly in His judgments toward him. Then, to quote Dr. Tim Mackie, God took Job on a “virtual tour of the cosmos.”
God didn’t answer Job’s questions about the why of his suffering, but He made clear that the ways of God are beyond our understanding. In His perfect wisdom, God considers the infinite complexities of galaxies.
I fumble with the common . . . as He masterfully controls the cosmos. I create chaos, but He orders all of creation. I see only the immediate task at hand, while He sees all of time and eternity. I ask for wisdom in one area and yet act unwisely in another—at the very same time I’m praying that prayer! So focused on one thing, I can hardly manage thinking about anything else.
Great God Almighty sees all . . . knows all . . . controls all. And yet we sometimes find it hard to trust Him without questioning.
But trust comes when we are humbled by His greatness. And it is trust He wants. Trust, He deserves. Trust that precipitates peace.
I'm still praying that prayer, friends. But this we can know: His wisdom is one we can trust—even when we don’t understand it.