I write this post with no small measure of trepidation. Because, as Paul said:
Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments
and untraceable His ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?
Or who has ever first given to Him,
and has to be repaid?
For from Him and through Him
and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:34-36).
Who indeed. It is an unbelievably presumptuous thing to open one’s mouth and say with certitude, “This is what the Lord is up to.”
That butts up against, though, the fact that most of us at one time or another have looked to the heavens and asked the question, “What are you doing, God?” We have asked the question in a variety of situations – during the illness of a family member, during the downturn of a business, during the end of a relationship, during the moments when we realize that that thing we were so sure was God’s will for our lives seems to be pointed south. We cry out for some revelation of God’s activity, some inkling of His wisdom and knowledge, something that will help us see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
We have, then, this question burning in our minds. And we have also the truth that God’s thoughts are not out thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. Indeed, as high as the heavens are above the earth are His thoughts and ways higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). When our desire for knowledge and revelation ram against the unapproachable wisdom and knowledge of God, where do we turn? The surest answer in those moments is to turn to His Word, where mercifully, God has already spoken. He has revealed something of His good intent and loving providence, enough so that through His Word we can generally answer our question.
It would be easier sometimes if we could open up the Bible and find the specific answer to our questions. What city do we move to? What job do we take? Why is this person sick? Why am I not meeting with more success in my work? These are all good and valid questions, but we won’t find those specific answers hidden in the pages of Scripture. We do, however, find the general answers to those specific questions. Here, then, are three answers that are always true when you wonder what in the world God is doing:
1. He is making me more like Jesus.
In writing to the Philippians church, Paul said this: “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). What is this good work God has begun in us? It’s to make us more like Jesus, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. When we were brought into Christ, we receive His perfect righteousness in exchange for our sin. And though we are righteous in Christ, we are also growing into that righteousness; we are becoming what we have already become. This is God’s will for all of us, no matter how young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural – it’s that day by day we become more like Jesus. The answer, then, to the question of what God is doing right now in a given situation is always, “He’s making me more like Jesus”, for “those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).
2. He is working for my good.
The often quoted promise of Romans 8:28 is another answer to the question of what God is doing in a given situation: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Yet we must also be careful here, for many times we confuse the word “good” for the word “comfort.” God has promised the former; He has never promised the latter. As a Father who is perfectly loving, perfectly wise, and perfectly trustworthy at all times, we can know that though it might be painful, though it might be confusing, though it might even be frustrating, the work of God is never, ever arbitrary. He is intentionally and specifically working for our good in any and every situation, whether big or small.
3. He is bending all things for His glory.
This is first and foremost in the heart of God – that He would be acknowledged and worshiped as the one true King. That He would receive all that is due His name. And He is bending all of history to that end. If that is true, then the attempt to work evil whether we mean to or not is the most fruitless endeavor in all the universe. For God redeems even the most senseless and vile acts for His eternal glory some time and in some way. When any human or any power fights for another end than the glory of God they are fighting a losing battle, so says the Lord in Isaiah 42:8: “I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.”
“What is God doing?” we cry out. We cry it out in pain, in difficulty, in frustration – seeking answers to our questions. Christian, speak to your soul today during those moments. Trust in the God who, no matter what’s happening and no matter how difficult it is to accept, is making you more like Jesus, working for your good, and bending all things for His glory.