Living overseas can challenge a person’s North American sensibilities. In my current home on the island of Antigua, I don’t always understand what’s going on. Will the electricity be back in time for supper? Why did that work crew leave a pile of wet cement to harden in the middle of the lane? Why can’t my husband pick up mail addressed to me without my written permission?
My ways aren’t Antiguan ways. I am sometimes judgmental, as if my ways aren’t just different, but better.
Do we ever feel the same about God’s ways? We confess that Jesus died for the whole world but inwardly feel that so-and-so is such a jerk he or she doesn’t deserve God’s mercy (or at least not ours). We pray, “Thy will be done” and then tell God exactly what his will should be. We chafe under God’s timing and testing.
God reminds us that his ways aren’t just different; they’re better. Not just better, but best. “‘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’” (Isaiah 55:8,9).
In nothing is this more apparent than in God’s plan to save us. We are wicked. We don’t deserve his love. An eternal death sentence would be fair and right. Instead, with a love higher than we can conceive, God sent a Savior bearing mercy and pardon. Whether I take blessing or hardship from his hand, I know . . . his ways are best.