The Unsearchable Ways of God

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33

On October 11, 2002, in the worst automobile accident in Wisconsin history, a thick fog wafted inland off Lake Michigan and settled in a low spot on the interstate. A massive collision involving fifty cars and trucks took the lives of ten people and injured almost forty more. This accident left a grandmother, aunt, and cousin in our local church in shock, disillusioned, and deeply hurting. As their pastor, I brought to their souls comforting assurance from God’s Word which revolved around three stabilizing truths.

First, sometimes God’s ways are impossible to understand, but he is always wise and good. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God,” Moses made known, “but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). We are finite, but God is infinite. We cannot know all that he is doing in and through our suffering. But we can know the truths revealed in his Word, one of which is that God is “good and [does] good” (Psalm 119:68). The hand of Providence is mysterious, but there is no reason to ever doubt his love for you (Romans 8:31–37). Pondering truths like these ultimately led the apostle to exclaim, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). His love is endless and his kindness is great. He is too wise to leave one single thing to fate. Do you believe this?

Second, though God’s purposes may be unknown to us, he is the rock in whom we can always trust. Like King David, you can embrace this truth: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2). In addition to being your refuge and strength, the Lord is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He is always there for you. You can always run to him in your time of need.

Third, God, who gives, may also take away and, therefore, we should always praise his name. This may be the hardest of these three truths to apply. At least it is for me. When my heart aches for relief from the pain of grief and loss, I don’t always feel like praising God. Perhaps you can relate. But perhaps, also like me, you are discovering that in times like these it is helpful to stabilize your faith, and regain your emotional footing by speaking biblical truth to yourself. This is what the Old Testament patriarch Job did when his life and heart were violently ripped apart by sudden loss. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” he said (Job 1:21). As hard as it is to do, remind yourself of biblical truth. It is therapeutic to your soul.

Consider reading Psalm 18:1–7, and jotting down some reasons God is worthy of your trust. Perhaps you will want to memorize verse 2. *This post is a chapter excerpt from the 50-day devotional, A SMALL BOOK FOR THE HURTING HEART: Meditations on Loss, Grief, and Healing.

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