By Jesse Jost
Imagine that the position of Ruler of the Universe became available. If you got the job what would be your first act? Stamping out ISIS? Eradicating cancer? Ending world hunger? With unlimited power at your disposal, these things should be easy to accomplish before moving on to eliminate hate and bigotry, right?
Even with all the wildly divergent beliefs and religions, if there is one thing we humans can agree on, this world is a messed up place. There is a deep groaning that things are not the way they are supposed to be. It often seems like God, considering the endless resources He must have at His disposal, could be doing a better job of cleaning up the mess and doing more to intervene and stop the bleeding. Is this really the case?
A defining attribute of humanity is our overweening presumption that we could be doing a better job than the person who is actually doing the job. With absolutely no comprehension of the finer details or the options that are really available, we feel full confidence to criticize and complain about how a job is being handled. From the decisions of the church board, to the executive orders of the president, we seem sure that were we in that position, we would have accomplished more, and done it better.
Are you more qualified for the job of God? It seems a foolish question to ask, but I raise it because so many of our attitudes and actions seem to reflect that, deep down, we really believe we know better than God.
Before we look at how qualified you are for the position of Supreme Potentate, let’s look at how well you’ve handled the job of being Human. Ever longed for something that you thought would make you happy, only to find it brought heartbreak instead? Have you ever uttered words that you have regretted? Ever look back and are grateful that you didn’t have the power or opportunity to act on the ill will that violent anger stirred? How often do you stick to your own goals and standards? Ever find yourself doing something you swore you never would?
The sad reality is that we do such an abysmal job of being ourselves that we have to enlist our memories to create a propaganda version of the past that overlooks mistakes and glorifies our accomplishments. But we have moments of honesty where we feel shocked with how badly we’ve failed.
But no bother, this realization rarely stops us from questioning and criticizing God. It’s easy to sing “God knows best,” with my mouth, but my heart often murmurs a different dirge. My underlying attitudes of anxiety and ingratitude show a distrust of God’s providence. Timothy Keller puts it starkly: “Worry is not believing that God will get it right, bitterness is believing that God got it wrong.”
It gets worse. Every choice to lust or envy says to God that you don’t agree with His plan for your life, that His laws are flawed, and we know better. Stephen Charnock put it bleakly: “Every sin is a wish for Deicide.” In other words, sin is a traitorous act that in the moment wishes that God were not here.
Complaining about our lot in life, or the hand that God deals us, presumes that we deserve more, that we understand better the complex issues of life and that God was unjust to us.
Are we really in a position to judge God? Do we know all the factors? Do we understand all the possible outcomes? Do we comprehend the complex chain of events each action will set off? Of course not! We don’t even understand the consequences of our own actions, but we feel free to critique the All-knowing All-wise God!
When God does things we don’t agree with, is it possible He has access to facts and data that might change how we feel about it? Is there a remote chance that God might understand issues at hand slightly better than we do?
We are weak and always changing our minds and emotions. As our track record shows, we are easily deceived and often confused. God on the other hand is unchanging, He never grows weary, He isn’t caught off-guard by new information, He is never embarrassed to discover He was wrong.
“Oh the depth of His riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb 4:13
At the heart of this omnipotent Triune Deity is a heart more kind, patient, and merciful than we could ever imagine. It is because of His unfailing grace and mercy that He continues to sustain us griping little traitors. He not only sustains us, but lavishes us with undeserved riches and abundant pleasures.
God knows our frame – that we are merely dust. He doesn’t expect us to understand the complexities of His sovereign plan, any more than a father buckling up his precious newborn in a carseat expects that baby to understand the intricate workings of a vehicle. If God does not “make sense,” don’t be surprised. Don’t be shocked that you can’t wrap your little mind around a God who has always existed, is outside of time, and is the Architect of the Universe. We can barely understand our own immune systems, but God designed and knows the workings of our every cell.
Our perception is so limited, our memories are so faulty, our imaginations so prone to wrongly predicting the future. We stumble around blinded by self-pity or self-righteousness, wondering “where is God?” Is He even there? Does He care? But just beyond our falsely perceived little worlds, every point in this universe is alive with the Glory of God. If we could see it we would mutter in awe, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Gen 28:16)
I have been so convicted by these words from A.W. Tozer in “The Pursuit of God”: “Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure. God being who and what He is and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.”
Shout this to your little brain and fickle heart: “God is qualified to be God and I am not.” God is supremely worthy of our complete trust and devotion. God’s perfect love means He earnestly desires what is best for you. His perfect wisdom means He knows exactly what is truly best for you. His perfect power means that nothing can prevent Him from accomplishing what is best for you. In whatever situation you are facing today, God can be trusted completely. “Cast all you cares upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)