Have you ever wondered why in the world some circumstances happen and seem to not make any sense? I certainly have. In fact, when I read the online news and think I could not be shocked further by human behavior, I discover that evil appears to have no limits. Personally I have experienced occurrences that leave me scratching my head-where did that come from?-what do I do now?
By nature I am inquisitive. I remember in my childhood pulling out the World Book Encyclopedia, exploring facts and looking at pictures to quench my curiosity. My Mom told me that when I was three years old, I researched roosters so that I would accurately color them in my coloring book. Now that we have search engines on the Internet, research is practically instantaneous and subsequently the World Book Encyclopedia is somewhat of an ancient relic found in flea markets and attics. Now I get to ask my phone questions with the push of a button and calling upon the faceless woman named Siri who diligently discovers answers to my ponderings.
Through the Internet we gain copious amounts of information and knowledge. The Bible also has information, yet it contains not only knowledge, but an infinite source of wisdom as well. Is every answer in the Bible? Every answer we NEED is in the Bible. Some things may never be understood this side of heaven because God, in His providence wants to give us what we need. That need is to trust in Him and believe He has our best interests in mind, and then to obey what He says. He is omniscient-meaning He knows EVERYTHING. So if we believe He knows all and loves us, we can trust Him even in the dark times when nothing that we can see makes any sense. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a Scripture many of us have committed to memory because it reminds us that understanding is not always necessary, but trusting in the Lord is. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” For those of us who thrive on asking questions, this verse has to be reiterated time after time.
I do not see any suggestions in those verses. That is a direct instruction from God. He expects our obedience to trust Him, not depending on our own interpretation and knowledge, and admitting that God is God and I am not. Obedience is the premise. His promise when we obey is to make our paths straight. In the bright shining meadow? Yes. In the deep dark cavern? Yes. During the pinnacle of success? Yes. In the anguish of defeat? Yes. His promises are true and completely faithful.
Because God is omniscient, loves us, and requires our trust, He tests our obedience to understand His truth. We may be refined in the fire with the ultimate goal of becoming more like Him. I read Judges Chapter three and found this lesson in practice. The NIV 84 version in verses 1-4 says it like this, “These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo-Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’S commands, which He had given their forefathers through Moses”. God could see what the Israelites could not. He saw their weaknesses and provided for them to become all they needed to be. This required their trust and obedience in Him. This was their test. Unfortunately if you read on, they failed this test and leaned upon their own understanding. Things did not go well for the Jews then and many other times when they disobeyed. Throughout history though, we see the love and faithfulness of God as He tests, corrects, then accepts His people. He displays this same grace to us today. When we do not trust or obey Him, yet repent of our ways, He is faithful and just to forgive us. We just might have to make another “lap around the mountain” and take the test again. We may not need preparation for the same kind of warfare the Israelites encountered, but I assure you that we battle our flesh daily and the powers and principalities that come against us relentlessly. God wants us ready.
NOW I GET IT. At least for today. Tomorrow I may need a refresher until He perfects me. I am thankful for the Word that provides everything we need to know and the wisdom that accompanies it. Curiosity and knowledge are not bad, but when left unchecked, becoming the obsession, these are placed at a greater importance than our trust in God. Expect a restlessness in your soul. God is drawing you nearer to Him out of love. Allow Him to refine you. Obey and watch His promise to direct your paths come true.