I would begin, “Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One built his house out of LEGOs, one built his house out of candy…”
“That’s not the way the story goes!” The kids would giggle. Or, if they weren’t in silly moods, they would cross their arms and grouch. “No! Tell it right.”
It was fun to mix up the stories. But these days I feel like I am in a story that isn’t going the way I think it should.
As I look through the Bible, I see that I’m not alone. God has always had a way of doing unexpected things. He often chose the smallest, the weakest, the most unusual way.
He promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation when Abraham and Sarah were too old to even have children. And then had them wait for years before Isaac was born.
He put David, the young shepherd boy, against the giant Goliath holding only a sling and a few stones.
I love reading these accounts in the Bible. I love the way God shows His power through these situations. But living out these types of stories in the year 2020 is another matter altogether. When the events are happening in real-time it’s harder to trace the hand of God through the shadowy twists and turns.
In the midst of these shadows my heart whispers, “This isn’t the way the story goes, is it, God?”
And in the midst of my confusion, even as I’m questioning God, I am looking in the right direction.
When I don’t understand what God is doing, I can lean toward Him and ask. And I have. In the dark of night, in the light of day, I have asked question after question.
I’m sure you have, too.
I fully believe God can handle our asking, our ranting, our anger. I’ve found that when I seek Him, He answers gently, not through direct answers to my questions, but in revealing more about Himself.
These times make me ask Do I really know God? Do I know Him for who He says He is or do I know the version I’ve made up?
Because in these confusing times, the version we make up isn’t going to stand. These confusing times cause us to question God, to really look at Him, maybe for the first time.
He knows we don’t really need because statements to match our whys. We need Him.
Knowing God leads to trust. The more we know Him, and the more we know His tender love for us, the more we can trust His Hand in our lives.
And as I fix my gaze on who He is and who I am to Him, I find that I can trust Him with the unknown. I find that I can say, “I don’t know why this is happening, but I do know You. And I will trust what You are doing.” I can cling to His promise of His steadfast love and plentiful redemption.
Because at the heart of God, is this:
For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20, ESV)
At the heart of God, the driving force behind His actions is to reconcile, to restore. To bring His people before His face. He works in and through the brokenness of this world to bring about wholeness in Him. Through the grief, through the tragedy, we can track His heart.
What does this matter? How does it connect with fighting for hope?
My measure of God is the measure of my hope. If I believe God is small, powerless, unable to save – my hope will be, at best, based on my current mood.
But if I see His majesty and power, in Scripture and in my life, my hope will be an anchor that keeps me steady in spite of mood or circumstance.
Hope that anchors reminds us of His promises. Hope that anchors reminds us of His character. Hope that anchors reminds us who we are to Him. This hope gives us strength to continue fighting, even when things don’t make sense.
This article about questioning God originally appeared at ErinUlreich.com.