Have you ever been stumped about a situation, and weren’t clear about what you should do next? Then, all of the sudden, you experience a moment of profound insight; and while you’re not sure what your immediate next steps should be, you do know that you view your circumstances in a fundamentally different way.
To me, this often-slow-to-unfold process of revelation – when God flips the script and makes me view my situation from a totally different perspective – is a lot like going from watching television in standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD). I understand that the program that I am watching is the same, but my experience of it is deeper, richer, and more engaging. And once I’ve made the switch from SD to HD, there really is no going back to the spiritual status quo.
This is what I call “clear,” and I am tremendously thankful for (and humbled by) it today. A situation in my life was muddled, and suddenly, God gave some illumination, and I can now view my circumstances with enough HD-level clarity and insight to know that I really don’t understand what God is up to in my life at all. Not really. He gives me flashes of insight from time to time, but let’s make it plain: He’s God, and He can do anything at any time.
Back to the situation I mentioned earlier: I’ve been puzzling over it for several months now – and if I’m honest about it, I really don’t have much more insight about it than I did when it first began. My emotions have been all over the map about it, and trying to suss out God’s will in the situation hasn’t been easy. Finally, I decided to walk away from it, because in my human mind, I couldn’t see any way that things could work.
Funny how God turns my thoughts on their head when I least expect Him to do so! Out of nowhere, a question occurred to me that had not crossed my mind before:
“Can you think of one good reason why this shouldn’t work?”
I’ve learned that questions like that do not originate in my own mind. The way I’m wired, I try to figure out how things can work, and then eventually wear myself out when things don’t go the way I had hoped or planned. I also spend a lot of time determining why things cannot work, but rarely do I stop to consider why a specific event should (or should not) go as I had hoped or imagined. I was on the same ‘can/could’ path earlier today, only to have the Lord put this thought in my mind and utterly transform my thinking in a moment.
My internal response was, “What kind of question is this?” I was focused on what could work, and God was basically asking me, “Why not? Can you seriously give Me a reason why this shouldn’t work? I can do all things, so ‘can/could’ are not words in My vocabulary. Why shouldn’t I do this?”
I was stumped, because honestly, I couldn’t give Him an answer. I have no idea how He is going to do it – the ‘can/could’ path – but He was essentially letting me know, “Leave the ‘can/could’ stuff to me. Can you – in your limited, definiitely-not-God-but-you’ve got-it-all-figured-out-anyway mind – think of any legitimate reason why I shouldn’t?”
That really messed with me, because I had no answer. I sat there, spiritually speechless, thinking, “You are right. I can’t think of any reason why Your doing this would be a bad thing. And just because I can’t figure out how You’re going to work this all out (in a Romans 8:28 kind of way) doesn’t limit You at all. You may choose to do it or not, but my ability to understand Your ways does not limit You in the slightest.”
It’s like when the Lord was talking to Job and asked him a bunch of questions to which he had no answer. We know a little bit about a lot of things, but God knows all things about all people, places and events all the time. I thundered my question to God, and He (quietly) thundered back, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” (Job 38:2, NIV)
Lord, I am here to tell You now that I do not understand, and I wasn’t there when You laid the foundations of the earth. I thank You for dropping down into my thought life and opening up my mind just enough to remind me that You’re the One running things, and that things are working out as they should according to Your plan.
So here is my prayer for today: Thank You, Sovereign Lord, for providing merciful and grace-filled clarity! Forgive me for the pride of thinking that I have everything all figured out, and that I know what is best in my life. Please open my heart so that I am receptive to the good things that You have in store for me, and not to let my anxiety and fear keep me from receiving Your very best. I confess my desire to control the events in my life, and recognize that this fundamentally is based on fear. Allow me to relax in the knowledge that You know what is best for me, and therefore I am able to trust You 100% with all of the can/could/should stuff in my life. Thank You for the humbling reminder that my understanding of Your ways (or lack thereof) does not limit You in the slightest. In Your name I pray, Amen.