Sometimes I have to make decisions my children don’t like.
They don’t always understand them.
They might even think I’m wrong.
After all, what’s the problem with eating cookies half an hour before dinner? My reasoning is incomprehensible to them. From their perspective, there’s not a problem in the world.
But their perspective is limited by their inexperience in life and their inability to see further down the road than the immediate short term. And because of that, it’s a good thing they have parents with more wisdom and experience to protect them from bad life choices while they develop wisdom of their own.
The gulf between my wisdom and my children’s wisdom is vast. And it’s that gulf that makes some of my actions and decisions beyond their ability to understand.
But do you know what’s also vast? The gulf between God’s wisdom and mine.
In fact, uncomfortable as it is to admit, the gulf between God’s wisdom and my wisdom is greater than the gulf between my children’s wisdom and my wisdom.
We may not like to think in those terms because we feel wiser than that. We’ve been around. We’ve seen how the world operates. We’ve accumulated some experience. The idea that we could be as simple or ignorant as a child in comparison to God is a humbling one.
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.”
If that’s true, then just as my kids sometimes don’t understand my decisions, there will be times I don’t understand God’s. And also just like my children, I may sometimes be tempted to complain, gripe, and think I know better.
That’s a big temptation when faced with pain we don’t understand.
But in those moments, we can choose to react in one of two ways: we can complain, protest, and try to pit our wisdom against God’s, or we can trust.
A little over a year ago, late in 2019, our family finances were in bad shape. I had been trying to get my business off the ground but our savings were running out faster than I was replenishing them. Something had to change or our situation was going to go from bad to worse.
I made the difficult choice to apply for a job at a local Christian organization. I didn’t want to. I wanted to be self-employed. But it felt like the best choice given our situation.
I had a number of acquaintances inside the organization—some of them very well placed—and I had taken it more or less for granted during the previous months that if my business didn’t work out, I could always get a job there.
Now, after years of self-employment (I had a different business with my parents and brother before my current venture), I was 36 years old and applying for a job for the first time in my life.
They asked me in for an interview. There were two possible positions I was being considered for, and I sat for a total of three interviews over a matter of weeks in late 2019.
In the beginning days of 2020, I received word that I wouldn’t be hired for either position.
Needless to say, it was a blow.
But what God knew—but I didn’t yet—was that my business was about to take a major step forward. Now, a year later, we’re not totally out of the woods, but we’re in a far better position than we were in a year ago. God prevented me from getting that job—which I saw as the answer to our financial problems—in order to provide the solution that I really wanted all along—to be self-employed.
In that particular case, it didn’t take long to understand why God allowed the job to fall through. We don’t always get the answers that quickly. Sometimes it may take weeks, months, or years before we understand.
Sometimes we may never understand this side of eternity.
The question is, will we trust the God of love and wisdom to do what’s right, or will we complain and protest like a kid who doesn’t get cookies before dinner?
Don’t think I’ve learned this lesson myself yet. I don’t like the hard stuff of life any more than you do. And all too often I fall into griping instead of trusting. But little by little, I think God is teaching me to trust Him more.
After all, He’s a lot wiser than I am.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor 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.
~ Isaiah 55:8-9
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