Sometimes I catch myself reading a portion of Scripture with a bit of an argumentative attitude. Ever done that? When the words of God are shockingly different from our cultural mindset and worldly way of conducting life, it is easy to cross my arms and want to dig in my heels. When I don’t completely understand how or why, I can default to doubt or bossiness–just keeping it real here.
I was reminded of this recently when I read Romans 11. There I was just reading along and conversing with God when He pointed my attention to this passage:
Romans 11:33-36 Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him;Everything ends up in him… (The Message)
Normally, I have read this passage as an anthem of praise for the immeasurable wisdom and sovereignty of God–and it definitely is. But this day God took the conversation in a different direction, pointing out my tendency to find fault and argue exceptions. Then I was reminded that He knows what He is doing and I will not understand it all. Somehow in the human limitations of my mind, it can be easy to struggle with doubt about things I don’t understand. Have you ever felt this way?
Last time I checked, God was not asking me for my opinion or for advice.
It strikes me that feeling like I am owed an explanation is a rather audacious example of human pride. God does not have to explain Himself to me, even though He graciously let’s me in on a mind-boggling amount of his thoughts through Scripture.
This anthem of praise places my eyes on the majesty of His extraordinary wisdom that is above and beyond all human understanding. I am humbled when I remember many situations when I have prayed about an issue in my life from the mindset that I know exactly how to fix it; I just need God to do it. It is easy for a desire to solve a problem to become an agenda, ever noticed that? It is a wonder He doesn’t reach down from heaven and give me a swat on my hiney when I want to tell Him what to do. God does not need my advice on solving any problem I face. I am the one who needs to remember that…”Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him…” Romans 11:36 (MSG)
I thought we were done, but…the Spirit had more to show me. Not content to leave it at a general reminder that He is God and I am not, the Spirit brought to mind a recent issue in my family. (Yes we have them; all families do.)
He showed me that when I think I know what is wrong and how to fix it, I often bypass His wisdom. How much better off I would be if I asked God for His solution rather than insist on my plan? Then when answers don’t come in the package that I planned on, I can end up feeling like God didn’t answer my prayer. This is particularly easy to do when it comes to the ones I love. (I will generally leave other people alone with my fix-it solutions.) Too often, I am only looking for the immediate fix, rather than the larger picture of faith and character that God is working on. Relational dynamics are often a complex web of thoughts, assumptions, needs, opinions, and behaviors. God is reminding me that He understands far more than I do and I should seek His wisdom, confident that…
Everything comes from him….including answers and solutions to the issues in my life.
Everything happens through him…not necessarily through my opinions about how to set things “right.”
Everything ends up in him…I’d be wise to let him have the last word!
What is something in your life where you have been tempted feel this way?