Read the Bible, Not Life

Life is hard to read.  After much prayer, I found a girl last year I thought was the one.  I was sure of it.  I thanked God daily for her and we even talked marriage.  Then it was over.  Why?  What does that mean?  What is God trying to tell me? I can guess, but I don’t know.  Life is hard to read.  

People have always tried to learn God’s will by reading life events.  When Job was afflicted, his friend Eliphaz said, “Who ever perished being innocent?  Or where were the upright destroyed?” (Job 4:7).  In other words, “This is your fault Job.  God must be punishing you.”  He interpreted Job’s life as a reflection of God’s wrath.  He was wrong.

When Jesus’ disciples saw a blind man, they assumed he or his parents were being punished (John 9:2).  They were wrong.  How many people have seen conflict on the world stage and thought “We must be living in the end times!”?  Then hundreds of years go by — wrong again.  So many treat life events like tea leaves and tarot cards, but life events don’t reveal God’s mind.

Trust me, I’ve been trying to read this breakup.  “Maybe God wants me to be single?” “Maybe He’s angry with me.” “Maybe He knows I’m not ready.” “Maybe He saved me from a marriage that would have led me to Hell.” “Maybe there’s someone better out there God wants her to find.” “Maybe there’s someone better He wants me to find.” “Maybe God wants me to learn from the mistakes I made?” “Maybe He’s teaching me contentment and trust?”  I could be right, I could be wrong, I don’t know.  Life is hard to read.

So many treat life events like tea leaves and tarot cards, but life events don’t reveal God’s mind.

God’s Word isn’t though.  We find so much clarity in its pages.  Paul said, “When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.” (Eph. 3:4).  We can know the mind of God through the Spirit’s writings (1 Cor. 2:10-13).  That means we may not understand why things happen the way they do, but we can always know who God is, what He’s done for us, what He wants from us, and the joyful place He’s taking us.

Reading life events frustrates us with details and we miss the big picture.  The Bible reminds us not to miss the forest for the trees. “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.” (Rom. 8:28).  No, Paul doesn’t mean that in a pollyanna Your life will eventually be great” sort of way.  In context, the “good” Paul refers to is being “conformed to the image of God’s Son.” (Rom. 8:29).

How freeing!  Instead of worrying about what’s happening to us, we can focus on what’s happening in us.  I don’t have to know why the breakup happened, only how it can help me be more like Jesus.  Sure, we can learn some things from life events, but we don’t have to obsess over unknown answers because none of it changes who God is and the relationship He wants with us.  None of it changes His plans to conform us to His image and bring us to glory in Heaven.

What matters most is not to know what God is doing, but to know the God who’s doing it.  Don’t read life for the answers; they aren’t there and you’ll only be frustrated.  Instead, read the Word and take comfort in the big picture of God’s loving plans to save you and bring you home.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1-2)

What matters most is not to know what God is doing, but to know the God who’s doing it.

Have you ever been confused about your life circumstance, yet comforted by the clarity in God’s word?

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