The Unsearchable Ways of God
By Rev. Michael Alix
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:33-36, ESV)
“What were they thinking? How could they do such a thing?” These are thoughts that have probably come to many of our minds in different relationships. Maybe it is a coworker, or a child, or even a country. I am writing this devotional on February, 24, 2022. This morning I am working hard not to keep going back to news reports on Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. While I want to be informed, I also have other responsibilities in ministry and one country’s decision to invade another doesn’t necessarily pause those responsibilities…but it does put different thoughts in ones minds as we go about these tasks.
The honest truth is that what Russia is doing in Ukraine will only make sense to those who wish to accomplish their desired goals. We can try to diagnose them from afar and get anxious about what is next, or we can do as scripture leads us and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), pray for our brothers and sisters (Ephesians 6:18), pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2), and pray that we would be kept from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). The temptation in all of our lives is to begin to diagnose what God is doing in current events. Many will jump to write blogs about how this or that is fulfilling Revelation and get us all in a tizzy for this or that end times event. But here’s the thing…I don’t really always understand why I do the things I do, or why the people around me do the things they do…so I don’t think it is helpful to prognosticate as to what God is doing in these modern events.
Now it is not wrong to pray, lament, and lay our concerns and questions at the feet of the Lord. He has broad shoulders and can handle our anxieties and fears. But we must remember that God is God and we are not and we must rest and trust in His ways…even though they don’t always make sense to the fallible human mind and heart. As Romans 11:33-36 (quoted above) tells us, His ways are inscrutable. This is stated as Paul tries to explain the standing of Israel in light of the Gospel and Gentile inclusion to the chosen people of God. The mind of God can not always be comprehended by us and so we trust. But why do we trust?
We trust because His judgements are unsearchable and His ways are inscrutable. God has a plan that is greater and more vast that we can grasp. We don’t have the book of Revelation so that we can look forward, but rather we make sense of Revelation by looking back to the Old Testament and to Jesus and see God’s faithfulness to accomplish His purposes. That is why we trust. So as the world seems to turn to chaos and we are unsure of what the Lord has for nations or even how we are going to pay our next electric bill, we know that God has been and will always be faithful. That is what we can know because He has proved it since the foundations of the world.
I don’t know what Russia has planned for the coming days. I don’t know what the United States or the allies of Ukraine have planned. I don’t know what God has planned for the days ahead for any of us in light of current events. But I do know that God is not caught off guard, even though He is grieved by the sinful actions of humanity. God is continuing His plan to redeem His people in real time history and we are part of the call. And so we rest, even if uneasy at times, in the glory of God knowing more than us and His perfect plan to bring all things into subjection to himself.
(Mike Alix is Pastor of Blessed Hope Church in Waterville, Maine. He is a member of the Berkshire Christian Board of Trustees and a former Chairman of the board. He and his wife Erica make their home in Waterville along with their three sons.)