Many people quote this verse at various times and sundry situations in their lives. It is a vital truth! “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Is 55:9 CEV) God’s priorities in our life are different than ours. He uses anything and everything we ALLOW Him to use as teaching tools for our growth in Him. That means He uses our prayers and answers them as He sees fit. It means he uses Nature to teach us His Ways. He uses other people, knowingly or unknowingly, to work His purpose deeper into us. There is nothing God cannot or will not use, as we pay attention. But it is His purpose He is working out in us, not our own!
We generally seek our own comfort, ease, or wealth. God, on the other hand, is changing us (with our cooperation) into the likeness and image of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 3: 17-18 CEV) Our Spirit is regenerated and new, but we live in corrupt bodies with unhealthy and unholy desires and habits. We all want our own way! We pray for healing, for smooth roads through the “wilderness,” for easy answers to life’s deepest questions, and we panic or revolt when we don’t see the responses we seek. Right?
There are times when God gives us exactly what we want or need. There are also times when, thankfully, God doesn’t give us what we ask for because He knows where He is taking us and what He is building into us. We seldom know.
Remember Paul’s story? He was a passionately religious man raised in the height of the traditional Jewish knowledge and traditions. So fervent was he that he chased down and murdered new Believers until God confronted him personally, like He does each of us. In that moment, Paul saw Jesus as his Messiah, and he never looked back. ACTS 9: 1-22 CEV Some believe Paul was visually disabled for the rest of his life. Paul gained a deeper revelation of God’s grace. “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” (2 Cor 12: 1-10 NCV)
Years ago, I was a single soldier stationed in Alaska. It happened that I was the ONLY single girl in the small Christian fellowship on the base. I remember fervently praying for a Godly husband. A single man began to show interest, and we dated a few times. One night while praying again for “my husband,” thinking of this young man, I felt God say to me, “You can have this man if you wish, but He is not my BEST for you.” WHOA! The ball was in my court! Reluctantly, I yielded! I wept for days after I explained my feelings to the guy. We continued to be friends, and a few months later, he reunited with his fiance. Last I heard, they were living happily ever after!
We can pout and throw our tantrums, but if we are truly surrendered to Christ, we must acknowledge that He knows best. His ways are best. His plan is best. When we are securely nestled under the shadow of His wing, we can hear His heartbeat of devastating love for us and know that everything … EVERYTHING that we encounter comes through His fingers and is laced with His love to accomplish the purpose He intends. Even the traumas and tragedies that we each face at times, will produce good fruit as God redeems the situation.
Don’t hear me saying that God creates bad or difficult situations for us. That is not what I’m saying. He permits them for His purpose. Some difficulties are simply a result of our own unhealthy attitudes or behaviors, and we are simply “reaping” what we “sowed.” Some hardships are simply part of living in this corrupt world. We also have a very real enemy but, GOD is in CONTROL, right?
Do you love God? Are you “called according to His purpose?” If so, then trust that even the most painful and challenging situations that face us are meant to build the character of Christ into us, and for that, we can be eternally thankful!
MEDITATE on THIS: Psalm 139