Higher Ways

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Isaiah 55:8-9 “’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.’”

God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts. There wasn’t always such great a difference between them. When God first created Adam in his image, Adam did not know everything God knew, but he never found anything God did or said hard to accept. His mind and will were in perfect harmony with the Lord. Whatever the Lord decided was just fine with him.

That’s not true of us anymore. Sin has introduced a gap, a vast canyon between God’s ways and our ways. Only the Lord in his grace can lead us back across. Sometimes we would like to shake our fists at God in anger, or turn our backs on him in frustration. Our careers, families, or ministries don’t go the way we plan. We are no better than Elijah, so full of self-pity when he defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. It failed to turn the whole nation around. It failed to change the heart of the king and queen. So he ran away into the desert and asked to die.

We are no different than Peter, who took Jesus aside and rebuked him for all this talk about suffering, humiliation, and death. He saw his own dreams of glory and power flushing down the commode. Jesus’ words about denying ourselves, taking up our crosses, and following him don’t fill us with giddy joy, either. Maybe you have a spot in your office or in your home where the carpet is worn into a path from pacing when problems come up. I do. That’s not a path I created because I am getting my way so much of the time.

But doesn’t the Lord share this truth for our comfort? Thank God we don’t get our way. Who of us would have had the gall to ask the Lord, “Excuse me sir, but would you take your only Son, the one you love with a perfect, unfathomable love; your Son whose love and will are perfectly united with your own; and would you kill him for me? Before you kill him, could you torture him first with all the pain, horror, and forsakenness of hell my sins deserve? And I know that have despised and defied you millions of times. But could you treat me like my sins never even existed?”

Who of us would have even thought of the way of salvation God had been planning from eternity? Even if we did, who would have dared ask him for it? God’s promise of forgiveness, life, and love in Christ is something we would never have imagined. Things about it surpass our understanding. But it is God’s promise just the same, far above anything our little brains could conceive. Blessedly, thankfully, God’s ways are not our own.

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