“I just don’t understand.”
How often I’ve said those words during hard times. Sometimes it’s when a crisis happens—one in which it seems God certainly could have intervened.
Lately it’s as I’m praying for someone who has been married for many years and gone through scores of hardships, but is now–in the second half of marriage–filing for divorce. I’ve prayed and prayed, but God has not intervened. The papers are filed. The divorce looks inevitable.
There are the times I’ve prayed for healing for others, and no healing came—like when I prayed that my sister would be healed from schizophrenia. She committed suicide at the age of 21 in the midst of my crying out to heaven. Some people tried to console me with, “But she is healed—in heaven.” At the moment that did not help my sorrow.
My “I don’t understand” came again when my brother committed suicide thirty years after my sister due to pain issues after back surgery. I don’t understand why God didn’t heal him or at least give him hope.
So many prayers I have offered up to God seem to go unanswered—for numerous issues involving my husband and children, and my grandchild. I have unanswered prayers for prodigals to come home, for addicts to turn from drugs, for loved ones to accept Jesus as Savior—especially as they face trials and tragedies where they sink deeper and deeper into despair, but still won’t turn to God.
“I just don’t understand,” I say somewhere after my 1000th prayer pleading for God to “Please do something.” I have to accept that sometimes He is doing things that I don’t know about or that His timing is different than mine.
Today I heard a song on the radio I had not heard before. The first phrase of it drew me in as it was about sorrow. My battle against sorrow has been an ongoing one. Some days I think, “Will I ever not be in the midst of sorrow over something?”
But haven’t I prayed that I want to be like Jesus? One description of Him in Scripture is
“…a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… (Isaiah 53:3 KJV)”
After hearing the song this morning a truth formed in my mind.
I have not failed if I do not understand God. I have only failed if I do not trust Him.
God tells me that I won’t understand Him and His ways, and He gives a reason in Isaiah 55:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says 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” (8-9 AMP).
The good news is that in the midst of my sorrow, God is there to offer comfort even as I sometimes demand explanations. Also, He can be trusted, for He knows what He’s doing because He sees the big picture.
Proverbs 3:5 warns me not to trust in my own understanding but to trust in the Lord.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”(NIV).
I confess I too often go back to trying to figure it all out. Today I want to return to accepting that I will not understand, and that’s OK.
He will find a way to use these circumstances I do not understand to bring glory to His name.
A friend told me a truth years ago—one which I cling to: “God never wastes our pain.” One day I will see the complete picture and celebrate how often He used my pain and sorrow for a gain in His kingdom. God is so good.
Here is the link to that song which lifted my spirits today:
“Sovereign Over Us” by Aaron Keyes