Rooted in Christ

Staying in Our Lane

How many of us have wanted to question God, or at least be made privy to the whys and what fors of what happens in life?

“Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14, ESV)

How many of us have wanted to question God, or at least be made privy to the whys and what fors of what happens in life? We wonder how the death of a child or the futility of our noble efforts or struggle with a besetting sin can possibly comport with the providence of a sovereign, almighty, loving, beneficent God. 

Something doesn’t make sense. But it seems that is just where God wants us. He wants us to embrace the fact that He is the Creator and we are the creature.  

How does such knowledge lead us to conduct ourselves in the struggles we face in life, particularly those struggles where we tend to question God? Two verses help us to find our way. 

The first is a statement that stands out as an operating principle amidst the discourse of God’s covenantal outworking. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). 

This principle distinguishes between two categories: secret things and revealed things. The things secret are secret to us but known to God. They speak to His sovereign plan and purpose that govern all that comes to pass. It is here that we bang on the door asking to be let in, wondering or even demanding an explanation of God for events that transpire (or don’t transpire). But those things belong to the Lord our God. 

Contrasted with the secret things are the things revealed. These are what God has spoken and caused to be written down for us in the Bible. The things revealed let us know that God does have a plan and that what happens carries His purpose, but that is not our business. Ours is to obey, to do what is written and to instruct our children likewise in relation to our covenant Lord. 

The second verse from the mouth of our Lord instructs us in how to operate within the framework of the  principle of Deuteronomy 29. “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19). 

Peter is speaking to suffering believers, those who may well be asking why, asking the age-old question, “If God is for us, why is this happening to us?” We can see the framework of Deuteronomy 29:29 behind Peter’s instruction. We are to trust and obey. 

Knowing God is at work for our good and His glory, we entrust ourselves to Him. We don’t understand but we trust Him, believing that He does all things well. As for us, we will conduct ourselves in submissive obedience to His revealed will. 

We can see how practical this two-fold framework is for our daily lives in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In whatever state we find ourselves, we rest in the purposes of our faithful God and busy ourselves purposing to do His will. 

We cannot excuse sin or shift blame by pointing to the secret things of God. Rather, we must conduct ourselves according to the revealed things. Our responsibility is obedience, despite any dissonance we may have with the hand dealt us. 

Whatever our lot, we must resist the temptation to rebel and buck against our creaturely limitations, instead entrusting ourselves to our faithful God and endeavoring to walk in faithfulness to His revealed, recorded will. 

Along with Paul in pondering the perplexities of a sovereign God, our response is not to pout but to praise. 

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and  knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

                        “For who has known the mind of the Lord,

                                    or who has been his counselor?”

                        “Or who has given a gift to him

                                    that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:33–36)

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“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale