Tracing God’s Hand

The past two weeks have been the yearly Missions Week. Yesterday’s preacher was from Scotland- Dr. Norman MacKay. I’m very used to Dr. Goligher’s accent; this man’s accent took a little bit of careful listening on my part.

The sermon was from Hebrews 12:1-3. The sermon was very good. I confess, I remember little of it. Most of it did pertain to missions. But towards the end of the sermon, Dr. MacKay turned to the topic of trusting God. Once specific verse that was brought up was Romans 8:23 which states,

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

He used the illustration of taking his son to the doctor as a child to get vaccinated. His son did not understand why he as the father was allowing this very painful thing to take place. He explained that he as an adult understood the reasons why his son needed to get his shots, but that his son did not have the capacity to understand (even if it had been explained) why this was happening to him.

His exhortation to us was as follows:

When you cannot trace God’s hand, you need to trust His heart.

This is very hard. I think most times as Christians we expect that when we are going through something difficult that we will see and understand why things are happening. We expect to see and understand pretty immediately. But what if this doesn’t happen? What if it takes years to see why something had to happen? What if you never see why something had to happen? In the past, there have been times when I saw an immediate benefit in my life or the life of someone else. Far more, it has been years before I saw any benefit.

When I was first looking for a job (2006), I applied to this firm in Philly. They specialized in mortgages/real estate law stuff. Basically they were legal counsel for a number of mortgage companies. It seemed a great place to work. The firm had about 100 people of which 20 were attorneys. In terms of work life, it was a 10 hour day. Many of the attorneys were women; so they took family life very seriously. Every year for 4 days, the attorneys were taken on an all expense paid vacation to the Bahamas. It was a lot of perks. I got to talk to one of the associates. She absolutely loved it!! I could tell she was planning to stay there for years. They had very low turn over. The office even had a gym and showers. I didn’t get that job. I was pretty upset. I eventually got a job, but it was for a lot less money. I’ve moved a round with jobs a few times. Since working at my current employer (2011), I saw an email alert about this Philly firm. The partners were being sued over the way they were doing foreclosures. It looked like it was going to shape up to be a class action. I got the impression that there may have been some concern with attorney ethics. I can’t even imagine the turmoil and concern that this would have caused the employees. That litigation ended up on the Federal Court for RICO violations. I think many parts if the case were dismissed. It looked like the plaintiff was proceeding under a novel theory of law. Imagine trying to find a job after having that name onyour resume??

I remember when I first saw the article, I thought, “Man! I’m glad I didn’t get that job!” Five years had elapsed!

Like I said earlier, most of the time, there is no explanation why- why I didn’t get a certain job, why a relationship did not pan out, why I didn’t get accepted into some school or organization.

I’ve often been asked by people when I was telling them about a struggle, “Can you see what God is doing?” Sometimes I get really weird looks when I answer, “No.” I think sometime people think I’m being stubborn or obtuse. Sometimes things are just beyond understanding. Look at Job. The Bible is not clear that Job ever found out the reason why he lost everything. What was the good that came out of his trials? Sure he was more wealthy at the end of the day, and he got a new family. That of course didn’t bring back the children he lost. He had a better relationship/understanding of God that’s for sure. I am realistic enough to know that I’m not going to end up incredibly rich after my trials are done. I think Job was an exception rather than the rule in that regard.

But it all comes down to trust. Does that come naturally to anyone?

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