Genesis Day 48: God’s Best-laid Plans…and Us
56% of people in the United States believe in God as described in the Bible. (We Believe in God.)
43% of those people believe that God determines what happens in their lives all the time.
I love these kinds of surveys. I look at the questions. I ponder the results. I have all sorts of musings about them. That is until my life gets “off the rails”.
Some days I think I am doing okay following Jesus. It is not that I have erased my history (I know where I have disappointed God), but in the “here and now” I feel like I am doing okay. I am reading my Bible, saying my prayers, I haven’t lost my patience, and in general, I have kept my emotions in check.
Then it happens. Things don’t go my way, or a difficult event takes place, or an important relationship falls apart.
I find myself asking God, “Why did You let this happen?” Usually He does not answer.
I wonder, is that what Jacob is asking?
Look, everything we have read about Jacob is, well, less than complimentary. But after the lying and conniving with his father, he does what he is told. He goes looking for a wife in his home country. In the middle of his journey he has an amazing encounter with God. He goes to this country, finds his relatives, pledges his love for seven years—seven years!!!—and then gets duped. He works another seven years, and then we read again of the childless situation.
I wonder, were there nights Jacob was up mumbling, complaining even, to God?
After all, isn’t God is control of everything? Didn’t Jacob try and be obedient?
Do you ever find yourself thinking this way?
If you do, let a person who has frequently found himself on this treadmill of thought (that would be me) make a suggestion: put God “back on top”.
Let me explain.
I wrote earlier that sometimes I “ask God why.” That was generous. What I am really doing is judging God.
It is as if I am standing above God and the situation. I am judging God’s handling of the little part of space and time that I am a part of. It is as if I am standing on some high mountain, atop everything, and I can see the entire outcome. I am behaving as if I know what is going on in the hearts of all the other people around me, and how God is working on and through them.
Of course, that is ridiculous! I cannot understand all of those things—and that leaves me two choices.
I either conclude God does not know what He is doing, or I conclude that He does, and so I must therefore trust in Him.
These stories in the Bible have multiple purposes. One of them is to see how God works through the muddles and messes of human lives—for His purpose—and He desires that none should be apart from him. (2 Peter 3:9)