Some day we are going to clue in that God thinks differently than we do. Of course he does, because his thoughts are from an eternal perspective and take in a knowledge that we cannot even imagine. I guess we can be accused of being small thinkers. We tend to make everything about us, placing ourselves at the center of the universe, simply because we struggle to fit ourselves into any big picture. This alone should cause us not to trust our own thinking and to remain open to the possibility that we could be wrong in our opinion. Left to ourselves we would always make everything about us.
This fact can make understanding God a very difficult thing for us because God does not do things the way we do them. He picks the foolish to confound the wise. He makes it a Kingdom principle that the first will be last and the last first. He states that if we want to save our life we have to lose it because if we try to save it we will lose it. He chooses to glorify himself in our weaknesses. Instead of steering us away from the storms of life, he uses them for our good. Instead of building a hedge around us to protect us, he strengthens us for the battle. When the battle is too big and we look to be defeated, he has us put on our armour, march out singing his praises and then he fights the battle for us.
This is why I wish I could shout encouragement to the disciples when I read passages such as this:
When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief. (Matthew 17:22-23)
What seemed like the type of news that would rip one's heart out would turn out to be the greatest news in all of history. The disciples could not possibly understand this and so, for them, it caused great grief to hear their Lord, teacher and friend say these things. They could not imagine what God was about to do. Neither can we imagine what he is doing with the hard things in our life right now or perhaps in the life of a loved one. We are stuck in the pattern of our own thinking and are blocked to understanding the mind of Christ but we do not have to remain there. The Word tells us that we know the mind of Christ, we just have to die to our own selfishness to access it. Paul encourages us:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
He also writes:
“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
We do not have to be stuck in our self-centered universe with our self-centered thinking. It is possible for us to gain a greater vision, understanding, insight into what is going on around us so we can begin to understand our place in it and God's will for it. We do not have to become overcome by grief as the disciples were when God chooses to use paradoxes and storms to bring about his will. We are able to gain such a trust in our heavenly Father that we are able to pray with Jesus, "Not what I want but your will be done Father." We waste so much time, energy, and emotion trying to save ourselves in the difficult situations of life. We are yelling at Jesus, accusing him of not caring about us, accusing him of being willing to let us die, just as the disciples did while Jesus slept in the boat during the storm. In all that yelling do we ever hear his gentle rebuke, "O you of little faith"?
We can be free from all of our fear, worry, and anxiety by dying to our selfishness and allowing our mind to be transformed along with our heart. It is possible to discover the will of the Father if we are willing to let go of our own. It means no longer being concerned about ourselves, our desires, even our needs. We place all of that in the Father's hands and we pursue the things of the Kingdom which is mainly people. Read Romans 12 and realize that we are part of something huge, enormous and beautiful. The only way we can take our place is by putting others before ourselves and this can only be done through the grace of love. We are so much more than we are right now. Our Father sees us as being so much more and he has designed his plans according to that vision of us. We need to let go of the old, put on the new and grow into the shoes he has given us. Allow your grief to turn into joy as you realize what God is doing.