We often speak of the waves of God's love and grace, of the goodness and mercy that wash over us. But it is likely that we, as believers, have also felt waves of uncertainty crash over us, as well. Consider what the author of Ecclesiastes ponders:
- "There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 8:14)
I am reminded of the viking Stoick in the movie How to Train Your Dragon. He wanted so desperately to find the dragons' nest--the place where all the dragons returned to with their food (the vikings' sheep, the fish, etc.). In his quest to find the dragons' nest, he lost many of the village's ships (and most likely many human lives, as well). He always got lost and turned around, and his missions failed. But still, he fixated on the goal of finding that nest.
Stoick didn't understand the dragons. He didn't know what he was getting into by trying to find the nest.
But his son, Hiccup, realized that the dragons are far different than what they had seemed. In fact, some of them made wonderful friends. And he eventually discovered the nest because only a dragon could find it.
When his son inadvertently shared this information, Stoick forced Hiccup's dragon to lead him to the nest--an island with a dragon larger and more dangerous than they could ever have imagined (the "queen" of the "hive"). It is only with the help of other dragons that they had any hope of victory.
Now, in regards to knowing why God does what He does, I am not saying that we can manipulate Him to help us find the answer. And I am not saying that the answer is horrible and dangerous.
What I am saying is that I think we often don't realize how completely incapable we are of discovering the answer. In our quest for it, we get lost and disoriented. Ecclesiastes 8:17 says:
- "Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it."
But the truth is, that is just our perspective. I do not wish to seem callous and say that you should never ponder why God is allowing you to suffer and grieve. In fact, I believe with all my heart that we should speak honestly to God, as the authors of the Psalms did. We can tell Him how we perceive things to be; He cares and knows how much we are hurting. But realize that the "dragons" that seem so repulsive to you may not really be what they appear to be. Only God can see the whole lay of the land from His perspective far above. We are "earth-bound" and in no position to see how everything fits together.
Sometimes we get glimpses. Like riding on a dragon friend, we get an opportunity to fly above and look back, seeing just a small part of how God is working in our lives. Those moments--when we realize that a certain pain-filled path led us to an amazing place--are gentle reminders to our tender hearts that God does have a purpose. We can trust Him. He's the only One who can get us home, and He's the only One who can guide us through this journey and into the next.
So don't be overwhelmed by those waves. Day and night, may we pray and rest in His lovingkindness. May we remember that God does have a purpose. And therefore, we do have hope.
(Note: The movie picture is from IMDb.com.)