What is one area in your life right now that maybe you’re not sure God really knows what He’s doing? Or what is something about which you are perhaps doubting Him?
These are questions I recently posed to a group of students with whom I had the honor of speaking. When I speak to a group who is of a younger generation, I always try to speak from a perspective of, “What would I want to tell my younger self? What do I wish I’d taken more deeply to heart or learned earlier in life?” As I pondered this, I came to the following truth: I would want them to know that God always has our best interests at heart. And to understand that the process by which we learn this involves our sanctification. Another term for this word is what I like to call “life experience.”
I wish I’d known earlier in my Christian walk that just because I had chosen to follow Christ, my life was not necessarily going to be picture perfect. One of the common traps we can get into as believers is trying to be a “good Christian” by trying to live from a “checklist Christianity” mentality. This can set us up to avoid learning what God has for us to learn and experience. When in fact, it is often through everyday life experiences, mistakes, wrong decisions, or unexpected circumstances that we truly grasp what God has for us to learn about Himself. God’s not up there trying to smack us down or just waiting for us to mess up. He wants us to turn to Him, and to help us have a right relationship with Him. He’s looking for a yielded, softened heart.
When we truly understand that God always has our best interests at heart we will be less prone to get discouraged and defeated when things don’t go our way or when something happens that we feel shouldn’t have happened, or something we thought should have happened, didn’t. What happens when we forget that God always has our best interests at heart? We try to do things on our own, we get into a pattern of wrong thinking and start going down our own path.
Let’s think about Adam and Eve. We see in Genesis 1-3, God gave them everything they needed – a beautiful, perfect, lush life in the Garden of Eden. What God established for their good is taken and twisted by the devil as he plants a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind. “Did God really say …?” He causes her to doubt, then he causes her to think that God is holding out on her. It’s the same pattern he uses with us today. When faced with seeds of doubt, we should recognize them for what they are and respond with the choice to believe what God says. Every aspect of our life will be determined by what we choose to believe. We must know and choose God’s truth.
How do we see God respond to Adam and Eve? As they try to hide in shame, God is waiting there in the Garden to talk to them. He seeks them out and He’s waiting for them to acknowledge Him and He asks them questions. I love the interaction we see between God and those He created in His image. We know that historically, Eve gets a bad rap, right? But the part of Eve’s story we often overlook is when she had her 3rd son, Seth and his son Enosh, we see that “at that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:36). I love to think of that as the beginning of Eve’s redemption. God desired His best for Adam and Eve and He wants no less for us today.
As believers, we can be assured that God always has our best interests at heart. Does this mean that everything in our lives will always go according to plan? No. But it does mean that we have a good God who has plotted our redemption since the beginning of time – the one true God who is sufficient to work everything in our lives for our good and for His glory.
“We don’t always know what He’s doing. But we can always be sure that what He is doing is for our blessing, and for our richness, for our sanctification and redemption.” – Elisabeth Elliot