HOPE IN THE LORD … even when you don’t understand

               Throughout history, God’s people have faced injustice, suffering, disease, pain, loss, poverty, threats, and loneliness. Job lost everything, and his friends blamed him. Joseph was sold into slavery and was imprisoned. David was chosen to be Israel’s king, but Saul sent an army to kill him. Daniel was taken captive and sent to a foreign land, and when he was caught praying he was thrown to the lions. Mary lived a godly life, but her family abandoned her when she became pregnant. Our trials and struggles may not rise to these levels, but we all face times when we just don’t understand what God is doing and why He allows evil and wicked men to threaten and harm us and those we love.

               Even in the ups and downs, we can be puzzled and confused by what God is doing and what He is allowing to happen: Traffic delays. Family feuds. Sleepless nights. Unplanned interruptions. Unreliable electronics. Friends who disappoint us. In our confusion, we join everyone else who wonders why things happen the way they do. But God does not expect us to understand, only to trust and obey. Just prior to His crucifixion, as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand”, and “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” (John 13, ESV)

               Faith helps us trust when we don’t understand all the details of God’s overall plan. At best, we only see a portion of what He is working out for our good and the good for those we love. Also, faith reminds us that God’s perfect plan is still being made known to us as history unfolds. All things will not be fully restored and made right until Christ returns. Until then, we trust and hope that God knows best:  “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).

               God invites us to trust and hope in Him while we wait for His plan to be worked out. Our doubts can diminish and our courage strengthened when we remember how God has worked in the lives of His children throughout history. Job’s fortune was restored. Joseph saved the Jewish people from famine. David became the conquering King of Israel. Daniel became an important advisor in Babylon. Mary gave birth to the Savior of the World. Peter proclaimed the Gospel to the Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. And in our lives God has provided for us and preserved us through many difficult times in our past. By faith we trust that our lives will also turn out better than we can even ask or imagine. That’s the hope that God promises to those who trust in Him.