When I Don’t Understand
Do not be in dread or afraid . . . you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son . . . Deuteronomy 1:29-31
I have a hazy memory of a childhood dinner incident in which I dumped a bowl of sweet potatoes and steaming hot liquid into my lap. I don’t remember the pain. I remember only how hurt I was that my father was throwing water on me. In that moment, I couldn’t understand. I thought that throwing several glasses of water was some bizarre expression of anger. Only later, as my mother was dressing my burns and my father explained, did I understand that the water-throwing was an act of love, saving me from worse injury.
I often do this with God. In any trial, I have difficulty seeing further than the discomfort I am experiencing at that moment. I can’t understand how God is working or why He allows such a thing. I’m still that child, not comprehending my Father’s plan. I want to know why, before I believe, but that is not how it usually works.
The Israelites often found themselves in this situation. God freed them from Egyptian slavery but then, they spent years wandering before they settled in the promised land. During this time, God repeatedly tried to teach them to follow Him in everything, but like children, they had short attention spans and wandered easily. In their trials and hardships, they had difficulty keeping their eyes on God, trusting Him for their future.
God says to me what He said to the Israelites. Don’t be afraid. Just believe in Me. I carry you as a father carries his son because you are my son. I know you can’t see the future so trust in me. I can see what you can’t, and I love you dearly. Just believe and follow me.
As our Father can see what is hidden from our childlike eyes, we must continually turn our gaze to Him, following and believing, particularly when we don’t understand.