Second Guessing God

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — God (Isaiah 55:9 NIV)

Sad GirlHave you ever tried to second-guess God? If we answer honestly we’ve all been guilty of this. To second-guess someone is to try to predict what he or she is going to say or do before they say or do it. We try to do that with God when it comes to our personal lives. “God wouldn’t let me lose my job, my house, my spouse, my fill-in-the-blank.” “God’s going to give me that new job, house, that money, that fill-in-the-blank.”

There’s nothing wrong with claiming the promises of God as they are clearly dictated in his WORD. By all means, cling to them with all your heart! Just don’t make the mistake that I’ve made over the years. I would constantly tried to second-guess God. As a result, I was continually being disappointed. Then a lunch appointment many years ago with a good friend, Ken, radically changed me.

I was a man drowning in sorrow over bad decisions in my life and the painful losses they incurred. I had hoped and prayed for an end to the painful repercussions brought on by those choices. However, no matter how much I prayed or sought deliverance from my misery, none came.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalms 13:1 NIV)

I was in one of my melancholic moods with Ken that day as we eat our lunch. “I just don’t understand, Ken! I love God and I believe He loves me, but…. I feel like the Greeks in one of their mythologies where the gods were always playing games with them.” Ken continued sipping his tea and listening intently. “I don’t mean to say God is playing games with me,” I continued. “It just seems that way sometimes. I feel like I‘m… I’m in a toilet bowel and when I get a good grip on the rim with my fingers on the edge. Then I’m about to pull myself out… FLUSH! There I go again… back in the toilet!” I paused and took a sip of tea. “I don’t get it, Ken. I know God’s good and all but…I just…don’t get it!”

Ken looked at me for a moment, then look away reflectively for another moment. He then returned his gaze to me. “So, what you’re saying is,” he began “the problem is not with God… but with your perception of God.”

That was the piece of the puzzle I needed and I’ve never forgotten Ken’s wise words. 

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. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

I was leaning on my own understanding of God, rather than leaning on God, Himself. What a liberating revelation! In a very real sense I was guilty of breaking the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” (Deuteronomy 5:7-8 NIV) An idol is nothing more than man’s limited understanding of who God is―what He looks like and acts like. It’s our effort to create God in our own image!

That’s what I was doing. I was creating God in my image, according to my own understanding of him. I was second-guessing God. I was unintentionally trying to put him, whose ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and my thoughts, in a box. I might as well try to put the ocean in a thimble!

God didn’t promise us answers…He promised us grace. (see 2 Colossians 12:9)

When Job was in the troughs of pain and despair he finally ventured to ask God the “Why?” question. Then in Job 38, God responds, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!” (2-5a) In verse 21, God continued, “Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!”

Be careful what you ask your. Did you note a bit of gentle sarcasm in God’s words? It reminds me of how I use to speak to my daughter when she was 12-year-old about issues such as trust and obedience. “Sarah, I’m nearly 56 years old! Don’t you think I may know a little bit more than you do about this? You need to trust Daddy.” It’s like God was saying to Job and to us as well, “How long have you been around? What part in the creation of things did you have? Do you have infinite wisdom and understanding? Have you got it all figured out?” In other words, “Quit trying to second-guess me? I know what I’m doing. Just trust me.”

Finally, Job caught the unmistakable meaning of Gods words. Chapter 42 records this: 

Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (verse 1-7 NIV)

Whatever the future may hold don’t forget the One who holds the future. God doesn’t just want to impart some wonderful things into our lives, he wants to impact our lives. So, remain faithful and maintain a repentant spirit. And most of all remain open to whatever God’s sovereign will chooses for you. Whatever the future holds, be it pleasant or unpleasant, God is cooking up a meal for you. Accept the dish that He offers.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

So, don’t second-guess God… just trust Him!

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