“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
I remember the very first time I heard these verses read aloud. I was sitting across the table from a woman who had been walking with the Lord for years, far longer than the sum total of my own life. I sat quietly as I listened to her speak about her faith in God, and despite the numerous trials she had faced in life and the countless obstacles that she had overcome, she came back to these two verses with such a confidence in God’s character that astounded me. As she shared, I could see deep roots of faith in her that had grown over years of trusting in this one truth: God knows what He’s doing.
I know that I’m not alone when I say that I struggle with always needing to know “why” things happen. We are a people that want answers to the unanswerable things in this life. Someone dies unexpectedly, and we demand for God to explain Himself. We lose a job, and suddenly we are questioning the God of the Universe to give us a detailed explanation as to why He let this happen. Crisis erupts all around us, and in our limited understanding of the bigger picture, we expect God to answer our “whys”.
Although I fully believe that there are times when God does in fact answer the “whys” that we throw at Him, I can’t help but think that He is far more interested in our “whats”.
“God, what do you want me to learn from this?”
“Lord, what should I do in response to this?”
“Father, what part of me needs to change in order to trust you more through this?”
Of course this is not the rule, but for the most part I think our “whys” reflect a deeper issue, a trust issue. Because we can’t understand why, our willingness to trust God in it becomes increasingly difficult. Our insistent “whys” reveal a weakness in us. Our perspective is based off of a very limited view. We can only see a small portion of the greater picture and purpose of what God is doing in our lives and in the world around us. If we could just take a step back from our circumstances and rest in the truth that Isaiah 55:8-9 provides, I believe we would find peace. If we could begin to ask “what” in place of our “whys”, I believe we would begin to see heart change occur within us. The person who asks “what” instead of “why” demonstrates an increasing desire to trust the Lord who is in control, whose ways and thoughts are higher than our own – the God who knows what He is doing.