His Sovereign Hand - God is working in 10,000 ways (and we might see three)
Isaiah 55:8-9 is a well-known portion of Scripture from the Old Testament, and for good reason - it clearly articulates a profound truth that every Christian has likely wrestled with on numerous occasions.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
At the age of 18 I considered myself mature in the faith (particularly when I compared myself with most of my peers - never a good idea!); at the age of 45 I’m increasingly aware of just how little I really know, especially when it comes to God and his sovereign plan and wisdom. I’m so, so thankful for the life God has given me - getting me back to work, helping me cope with chronic pain, enabling me to take an active role as a husband and father, and filling my life with meaning and purpose. Never in a million years would I have thought debilitating pain, disability, and depression would be some of the tools God would use to get me to this point!
When I was going through the worst of it in 2014, 2015, and 2016 I was certain those days were simply wasted, convinced the good days were gone forever. Upon reflection I’m convinced now the embedded truth of God’s Word in my heart, combined with the protection and presence of his Spirit, provided the flicker of hope I needed to just press on. My own spirit was seeped with bitterness and cynicism - sure God does good things for other people and gives them happy endings, but my life is hopeless! - but the love of Jesus would prove to be greater. I’m so thankful for the friends and family (and in particular my wife), who stood beside me in those dark, dark days. I was not an easy person to be around!
In her devotional called “His Sovereign Hand,” Joni Eareckson Tada quotes pastor John Piper, who in 2013 wrote, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” There’s humor and truth in that statement; we’re reminded of just how limited we are in our ability to see, let alone properly discern, all of God’s intentions and plans for us. Like 10 years ago, when I made my vow of celibacy to the Lord - and then two weeks later met the woman who would become my wife a year and a half later! (I wonder if sometimes God is just waiting for us to surrender our own will before he brings to fruition the longings and desires of our hearts…)
Joni’s conclusion is this: Is your heart open today? Watch for His sovereign hand at work in every life situation and praise Him for how each incident weaves its way into His marvelous plan. When life throws a curveball, keep praising and don’t lose heart - behind the scenes God is working in ways we can’t begin to imagine!