Why do we so often assume that God doesn’t know what He’s doing? I’ve had occasion to think about this recently as I have made decisions that have put me on the throne in my life and shoved my Creator to the side. I’ve ruminated over what blessings and growth I’ve circumvented due to my impatience. My loving Creator has reminded me that He does know what He’s doing, He does have a plan, and His plan will be fulfilled whether I follow along or not.
We are such impatient creatures. We see something and we go for it, and it’s often not until we get it that we stop and think about it and the impact it makes on our lives. As this is nothing new in human behavior, our Creator has had to watch the majority of His creation act this out day after year after century after millennia. Yet, He still takes the threads of our decisions and actions and works them into His overall design as if they had always been there. And in some mind-boggling way, they have.
When I think about the length of time it has taken for God to enact His plan, it is no wonder that we humans get impatient. We have such a finite sense of time, and we’re always in a rush, but He never is. We can look at Biblical history and wonder why it took Him so long to rescue the Israelites from Egypt, or why He allowed the favor they enjoyed at the beginning of their time there to turn in to hatred and slavery in the first place. Four hundred years is a long time. Just think about all the changes that have taken place in the last 400 years…from 2000 back to 1600. My goodness what a difference! When I think about it from that perspective, I find that it’s no wonder the Israelites didn’t believe they would be redeemed and rescued when Moses showed up (thinking from the human perspective, which of course is the one most natural for me). I wonder sometimes why it had to take that long? I think about all the births and deaths, all the hard labor and pain and hurt and heartache that took place during their slavery and wonder why He couldn’t have rescued them right when things started to go south instead of waiting until it was as bad as it could be.
I wonder also sometimes about the length of time between the Old and the New Testaments. Another 400 years of silence before the birth of our Savior. I wonder too about the length of time between the birth of our Savior and the time of His return. It’s been 2000 years, give or take. And yet, would I want to miss any aspect of the life He has given me? The life that wouldn’t exist if He had returned before now? To be quite honest, there are things I would rather have missed in my life, but even those things carry an importance to the overall scheme of things. And there you have it. Ups, downs, and everything in between, they all have weight. They matter.
But it’s hard to be patient and wait for Him to work things out. It’s hard to do the hard things sometimes, to trust that He has everything under control. To believe that the dream He has given will be a reality, when it seems that it’ll never happen. It’s hard to stand where He’s put you sometimes.
In stepping ahead of His plan for my life, what have I now missed that would have happened? What blessing have I forfeited? What opportunity for growth have I sidestepped that now will be a lesson I’ll have to learn the hard way later on? What of others in my life? What blessings will they miss? What growth has now been delayed for them? What pain and trouble will I encounter in the future now that I wouldn’t have if I had followed His plan?
Thinking of Moses and the Israelites again, there is evidence of what happens when God’s plan is not followed, when we get in the way and muck it up because we think we know best, because we think what God has asked is impossible and short-sighted and unfair. Moses was tasked with going back to Egypt and confronting the Pharaoh, and demanding that he let God’s people go. Moses resisted. He argued (!!) with God, more or less telling Him that He didn’t know what He was asking. God shot down every excuse Moses came up with. The last excuse, however, seems to have tried His patience. Moses said he wasn’t a speaker and wouldn’t be able to do what he was tasked with doing. God had a plan B: Aaron, Moses’s brother, would be the spokesperson. As the story continues, we find that Aaron caused problems later on. Perhaps the episode of the golden calf wouldn’t have happened if Moses had done what God originally asked him to do.
Now, God redeemed that plan and a line of Godly, God-fearing priests was born out of Aaron’s service. And how marvelous is that? Would Aaron and his progeny been the priesthood had Moses not balked at God’s command? I’m sure of it, but we’ll never know how it would have come about, how God would have moved and worked in Aaron’s life and heart, what great and marvelous things He would have done in and through them. Just like we’ll never know what the world would be like now if Adam and Eve hadn’t disobeyed God’s one rule.
All of history, right back to the garden, has been a picture of God’s redemptive power. Every choice and decision we humans have made that has taken us away from Him, He has redeemed and made a way back. Every choice we have made that circumvents His perfect will, He has used to further His ultimate plan. What a magnificent Creator we have!
I don’t know what I’ve missed or forfeited, and I don’t know what hardship I will encounter now. I don’t know what you have missed or forfeited, or what hardship you will encounter. But I know that our Redeemer lives. I know that He does have a plan, and His plan is greater than mine. His plan is more powerful than any precipitous decision I could ever make. I know that He still uses those who have failed, made mistakes, lost sight of Him, even when they knew better. His love letter to us is filled with flawed humans who do nothing but mess things up, and His loving faithfulness that weaves and works every failure, every flaw, every mistake into glory for Himself and good for us.
With God there are no shortcuts, because each step of the way is important. Even if we don’t know why.