God, I Don’t Understand What’s Going On!

“Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” John 13:7 ESV

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

At the age of 13 my younger brother Bobby, who was 11, died with Leukemia. At the time I was not a believer and I certainly did not understand why a “Loving God” would let my brother die. You can be sure that my brother’s death did nothing, AT THAT TIME, to make me want to be a believer.

However, that event was not intended to open my eyes to the love of God but rather to give me the experience of feeling that pain and going through the feeling that God was not in control. For you see, 2 years later in a boarding school far from my home, God used other circumstances to bring me to Jesus. He then called me to preach and taught me the Bible.

Years after the experience of my brother’s death God began to use what I felt and experienced during that time to understand and relate to others who were going through the same type thing I had experienced so many years before. Over the last 40 plus years it was that common understanding that opened the door for me to help, comfort, hold the hand of and lead to Christ countless people who have gone through the same thing. NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY GOD ALLOWED IT!

A BIBLICAL EXAMPLE

In John 11, Lazarus, who was a dear friend to Jesus, died. He was the brother of Mary and Martha. (Like me, Mary & Martha lost a brother). His death appeared to be avoidable. Days before Lazarus died, Jesus was informed that Lazarus was very sick. Jesus was asked to come and heal him BEFORE he died. However, Jesus choose to wait until Lazarus had died before he went to see him. As a result, the sisters were baffled and confused as to why Jesus would let someone He loved so much die. They did not understand.

Prior to leaving for Bethany, the home of Lazarus, Jesus told His disciples that the sickness would not END in death but it would be for the glory of God (John 11:4). When Jesus arrived He was asked by both sisters why He had not come in time. They said if he had come in time their brother would not have died. Again, they did not understand what Jesus was doing. Jesus then explained that he allowed Lazarus to die because it was the plan of God so that many people would believe (John 11:14-15), and they did (John 11:41-45; 12:10).

We may not understand why God is allowing the things to take place in our life that He does. However, it is not understanding the process that we should focus all our attention on but what the result will be when God is finished working. So, let’s look at what we should focus on during the process that will help remind us that God will ultimately work this for our good and His glory.

WHAT TO FOCUS ON WHEN WE DON”T UNDERSTAND

When we are going through times of difficulty, discouragement and sorrow it can be extremely hard to stay focused on the right things. However, it is critical to stay on track during times of difficulty or we can totally derail our lives and go down a road that can lead to more sorrow and unrest. So when we don’t understand, here is what we need to remind ourselves of:

1. GOD IS IN CONTROL

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21 ESV

2. GOD IS WORKING IN MY LIFE TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE NOT MINE

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13 ESV

“for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles” – Galatians 2:8 ESV

“equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” – Hebrews 13:21 ESV

3. THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS GOD”S GLORY & SALVATION FOR OTHERS, NOT MY AGENDA

“But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” – John 11:4 ESV

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our
Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” – 1 Timothy 2:4 ESV

4. MY FOCUS IS OBEDIENCE WHICH WILL BRING PEACE, JOY & FULFILLMENT TO MY LIFE

Obedience

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” – John 13:17 ESV

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:8 ESV

Joy

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” – John 15:10-11 ESV

Peace

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 ESV

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:6 ESV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Fulfillment

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way,” – Philippians 3:13-15a ESV

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:6-7 (written right before Paul died)

While we may not fully understand everything until we get to Heaven, we can know that in every circumstance of our lives God is working for our good and His glory. We just need to trust Him.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

So stay focused on these things, even when we don’t understand, and God will do the rest!

One more bit of encouragement …

If you think you’ve messed up your life to the point of no return and that God does not want you back, understand this: everything that has happened in your life up until now has been under the control of God. That is why you are still alive. If God had no use for you, you would be dead. You don’t have to understand it or even be able to explain it.

Turn your heart to Him NOW and He will forgive you, restore you and then use every experience you have been through up until now, good & bad, as a tool to help others and bring them to Jesus. I also know this from experience, but that is a story for another time.