Bible Society of South Africa

God’s ways are unfathomable - 24 November 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

11He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does.

Ecclesiastes 3:11GNBOpen in Bible reader

This verse has brought me a host of different emotions over the years. It made me angry, when someone tried to explain a loss in my life with it. I have felt powerless, God may do as he pleases, and I don’t have a say in it. I have been grateful, when God has blessed me so much more than expected and something worked out much better than I had planned. As I grow older, this verse brings calm and peace in my mind – God is in control, fortunately, not me.

At university, I learned that the Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, called God “der ganz Andere – the wholly Other. God is not like me, he is so much larger, stronger and more able than me. He has so much more insight in the daily (and eternal!) running of his universe, including my life. God’s works, as far as we know, started with creation. He has created this universe in his eternal time. In six days, he had spoken words of might and different parts of creation were formed. On the sixth day, he got personally involved, getting his hands dirty. He created man from the dust of this earth. It is the only creature in whom God blew his breath to create life. I am too small to understand creation. Was it created in six 24-hour days or six periods of eternal time? I do not know. All I know is that God has created heaven and earth, and it was here when I became aware.

I find the peak of God’s work in the happenings of the Easter weekend. God so loved me that he died for me on the cross. I find peace in the resurrection of Jesus; the price was accepted and I belong to a living God. I do not understand it but through faith, it brings peace and love.

In my daily life, God is at work. He gives life and health. He provides for my daily needs. This does not mean that it is always smooth sailing. Even here, I cannot always fathom what God is doing. I have learned to identify with Paul’s words in Philippians 4:12-13: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

This is the secret of an abundant life – to trust in God, even when I don’t understand everything. He gives me the strength to endure, until I reach the finish line (Philippians 3:14). And this is what today’s verse is teaching us: to trust God, to know that he stays in control and he leads us on a beautiful path.

Prayer: Lord, you are in control of eternity. You keep stars and planet systems in place. You have seen all of humanity from the very beginning. I know so little; I need so much wisdom to find my way through life. Therefore, I want to surrender control to you. Lead me on your path. Teach me to trust you, even when I don’t understand. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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