Today I want to share with you a portion of something I read in Elizabeth George's book, Loving God with All Your Mind,
that made me rethink my attitude toward situations I find hard to accept. She's discussing Romans 11:33, which reads, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
She says, "This single verse has taught me how to accept the unacceptable." Her premise is that since God's ways are past finding out, we must learn to accept the unacceptable by faith and reliance on God's perfect wisdom. She gives us four things we do not have to do and eight things we should be doing when facing the unacceptable.
1. I don't have to understand everything. This brings great freedom. You can divorce yourself from the responsibility of explaining or trying to get to the bottom of every issue when you realize it is not your responsibility to understand everything.
2. I don't need to understand everything. This attitude lets you off the hook and acknowledges that God is in control.
3. I can't understand everything. I am finite and limited, but God - who knows all and understands all - is infinite and limitless. Since God's ways are past finding out, we waste a lot of energy trying to understand things beyond our capability.
4. Why ask "Why?" "Job grabbed on to facts about God. Facts like - God is too kind to do anything cruel, too wise to make a mistake, and too deep to explain Himself. Believing these truths about God should erase all why's." We are better to ask "who?" Who is beside me? Who will carry me through? Who knows the answer to why? Answers to those questions bring us to worship and surrender!
And the eight things we should do?
1. Know that it's okay. When we entrust ourselves to God, we experience rest and peace. He will take care of us. Times might be rough, but God is still there. It might not look like it will be okay, and that's okay. If we believe in God, we know that Romans 8:28 is valid, and even if things look different in the end, that's okay, too.
2. Let it go. When we pry our grip off the problem, we experience freedom. Grasping and clinging to our idea of how things should work out never brings us peace. Letting go and letting God work things according to the purpose of His will is a much more exciting way to live a life of faith.
3. Let God be God. He is "Un-understandable, unsearchable, inscrutable, inexhaustible, unfathomable, and impossible to grasp." And that's how it should be because He is God!
4. Let go of your right to know. Stop demanding answers. Instead, entrust yourself to Him and let your heart praise His wisdom and sovereignty. Praise is much better!
5. These are God's judgments. "Whatever has happened to you is a part of God's judgments, and they are "unsearchable." You may never understand why, so you must accept the unacceptable by faith.
6. These are God's ways. And His ways are past finding out. Better for you to yield.
7. No vengeance. God will make all things right in the end. Therefore, we are best to defer to Him.
8. It's not them; it's Him! "One person does not have the power to limit, alter, or change your life. People are only God's instruments, and He uses them to conform you to the image of His dear Son." So pointing out blame is futile. If we are always looking to blame others, we fail to find the peace we need, and we will miss God at work in our lives.
Finally, she writes, "For eight years, I wasted time and emotional energy on a situation that was causing me real distress. But it was a situation God knew all about - and had allowed. Those years were rocky and miserable because I didn't understand that the problem was evidence of God's unsearchable wisdom and knowledge, evidence of His unfathomable judgments and ways.
And today? I still don't understand the reasons why my ongoing problem occurred. But guess what? It no longer matters! You see, now I am free! I can accept that God's ways aren't my ways, and I don't need to understand.
And there's more! Finally, because of all God has taught me through Romans 11:33, I am also determined never to waste my time or emotional energy like that again. Instead, I am intent on remembering that God's judgments and ways are not like mine. I want to defer to His wisdom and knowledge. I want to say, along with Mary, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). I want to accept the unacceptable."
As I look again at her instructions, I can hear the dismay of some of you. Living in the middle of unacceptable circumstances is not a nice place to be. It is challenging and can be soul-destroying, but I have always found these truths Mrs. George puts to us to be the ones I fall back on as well. And you can too. In your unacceptable circumstances, you will always find more peace, freedom, and encouragement in laying yourself open to the Lord than in trying to manage the situation without Him. So let me challenge you today to rethink your situation in light of these thoughts and see if God doesn't meet you there!