When I have found myself in spiritual and emotional valleys, one thing has always played a key role in helping me come victoriously out of them: meditating on the nature and characteristics of God. This meditation, which has consistently led me into deeper prayer and worship, has been a tremendous blessing to my life. Thus far in this brief series we have considered God’s goodness, sovereignty, and holiness. Let’s consider another of God’s traits.
God is all-knowing and all-wise. “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite” (Psa. 147:5). “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable” (Isa. 40:28). “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways” (Rom. 11:33)! God’s wisdom and knowledge know no boundaries or deficiencies. He sees everything that I cannot. He knows infinitely every person and relationship. He understands every contingency and every potential outcome of every choice of every person. He clearly sees every domino effect before the first one is pushed over.
Here is what that means for you and me. Since it is God’s will that I be conformed to the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29); since it is God’s will that I become more holy each day (1 Thess. 4:3); since God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11); then I can live each day in complete faith that whatever God has decreed or allowed to happen in my life, those circumstances and events are the perfect circumstances for him to accomplish his will in my life. Chip Ingram put it this way, “All that comes my way is from the hand of a good and loving God, who, knowing all things actual and possible, is exerting his unlimited power to execute the best possible outcomes, by the best possible means, to fulfill the highest possible purposes for me” (God: as He Longs for You to See Him, p. 144).
This means, therefore, that God’s highest possible purpose for me may be to glorify him amid tremendous suffering or even death. Such was the lot of Peter. Among the last words Jesus spoke to him included information “signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God” (John 21:19). If there is one thing that the suffering of Jesus teaches us it is that God’s glory and purposes are more important that my personal comfort (Heb. 5:8-9; Phil. 2:8). Jesus himself said mere days before his crucifixion, “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. ‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came out of heaven: ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again’” (John 12:27-28). But just as God strengthened and comforted him in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43), so he will do for us. He will never leave us to suffer alone and unaided (Psa. 46:1; 34:4-7; Heb. 13:5-6).
When we try to make sense out of human suffering, whether our own or another’s, we are often left with questions we can’t answer. Sometimes we are brought to the highest levels of frustration at circumstances that seem (and “seem” is the key) so wrong. But this should not cause us to question God’s character (Rom. 9:19-21). Rather, it should merely remind us of how inadequate our wisdom is compared to God’s.
God is deserving of our trust and obedience, every day and in all circumstances, because he is good, sovereign, holy, and wise.