You’ve probably heard the saying, “God works in mysterious ways,” but what does that really mean? Have you ever stopped to consider His ways? Ever wondered why He does things the way that He does? Does it matter, and if so, how important is it for us to understand His ways? The longer I walk with the Lord, the more clearly I realize one thing – He never, ever does anything the way that I think it should be done. Have you noticed this too? I don’t think I’m the only one, at least I certainly hope not!
As a new believer this was probably the most frustrating aspect of my relationship with Him. I just didn’t get how He did things, or why He always did them in a way that I would never consider doing them. So often I was sure I had figured out how He would answer a certain prayer or fulfill a particular promise, only to discover usually years later, that I totally missed it – again. He may have answered the prayer or fulfilled the promise, but I never saw it until I looked back, usually after a heart wrenching trial, to find that the trial was the way in which He brought it forth.
The Scriptures speak about God’s ways in many places. One that has helped me is Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” This makes it really clear that God does things differently than we would because He thinks differently than we do. Therefore, to understand His ways we must learn to think like He does. Romans 12:2 tells us how, “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.”
Renewing our minds is a lifelong process that comes through reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word. This takes time, effort, and energy on our part, requiring that we make it a priority in our lives. As we begin to understand how God thinks, He promises that we will know that His will for our life is good, it is pleasing or acceptable, and it is perfect, lacking nothing. Coming into agreement with His will makes it somewhat easier to cooperate with His ways of accomplishing it. Resisting His ways from lack of understanding unnecessarily prolongs the process He must take us through in order to fulfill His purposes for our lives.
Israel’s forty year trek in the desert (that was actually only an 11 day journey) is a great example of this. Hebrews 3:7-11 describes what happened: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried Me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.’ So I declared on oath in My anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.'” Failing to understand God’s ways can keep us from fulfilling God’s will for our lives and none of us want that.
So what does this mean and what must we do? Make time each day to spend in the Word, letting the Holy Spirit speak to you. He is our Teacher who leads us into all truth. Ask Him for wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, His will, and His ways. That is a prayer He will always answer!