Our Father refuses to answer such questions!
(James Smith, "PERPLEXITY" 1865)
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways, My ways. 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
God's dealings are very mysterious. His way is in the sea, and His path in the mighty waters, and His footsteps are not known.
We looked for light — but behold darkness.
We expected success — but we meet with failure.
We anticipated prosperity — but we are plunged in adversity.
Our purposes are broken off.
Our plans are frustrated.
Our skies are clothed with clouds.
Beloved, such is the case with us sometimes! Our circumstances are so painful, so different from what we anticipated, that in bewilderment we exclaim, "Truly, You are a God who hides Yourself!"
God will do just as He pleases with His own children. He has the right — and He will exercise it. He will often . . .
cross our wills,
hedge up our paths,
cut off our expectations, and
give us wormwood and gall to drink!
And why? Because He loves to cause us pain — or takes pleasure in our sighs and sorrows? No! Oh, no! But because He consults our welfare. Because He is wiser than we are!
Why am I poor — and my brother rich?
Why am I sick — and my sister healthy?
Why are my efforts crossed — and my neighbor's crowned with success?
This is often deeply trying. But our Father refuses to answer such questions! He asks, "May I not do as I will — with My own?" He kindly quiets us by the assurance, "You don't understand now what I am doing — but someday you will." Well did the patriarch exclaim, "He gives no account of any of His matters."
How difficult to say sometimes, "Though He slays me — yet will I trust in Him!" How difficult to believe that this rough road is the right road, which leads to the celestial city.
Our Father wisely appoints the circumstances and lot of every one of His children. He has mapped out the path in which they are to travel. He has appointed their bounds, which they cannot pass. Then with Job we say, "He is in one mind — and who can oppose him? He does whatever He pleases. He will certainly accomplish what He has decreed for me."
We must not murmur, we must not complain — but patiently follow wherever the Lord leads, and quietly bear whatever He lays on us. Patience must calm the spirit, quiet the heart, and close the mouth. Then shall we say with the Psalmist, "I was silent, I opened not my mouth, because You are the One who has done this!"
Had it been man — it might have been wrong.
Had it been chance — it might have been injurious.
But it was You — and, therefore, it must be wise, holy, and kind.
We are required quietly to persevere — though the way is rugged, though the thorns pierce our feet, though we cannot see one step before us! We must walk by faith, not by sight, believing . . .
that we are safe — in the midst of danger;
that we are right — though everything is perplexing;
and that all will end well — for "We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28