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First Reactions September 1, 2010

Posted by orualundone in Attitude, Belief, Blessings, Nature of God, Trust.
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The other day I met with the two high school girls who I do a biweekly Bible study with. They’re great kids, and we’re making our way through Beth Moore’s Living Free – an excellent short study focusing on breaking free of the strongholds in our lives and learning to know God and believe him.

The chapter we were working was focusing on believing God – and the difference between believing in God (that he exists) and believing God (trusting him and his promises to us). One of the main verses was Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We all were familiar with the verse, but we spent a lot of time discussing what it meant (and the beautiful thing about Scripture is that it rarely just means one thing). There are lots of ways to look at it, the most common being that God is saying “I know what I’m doing and you don’t, so calm down”. Another is “God works in mysterious ways” or “Things that you think are bad God can work for good”. I think those are all very valid and vital interpretations, but we also came one more takeaway message from this verse.

If God’s thoughts are so much higher and better than ours, does that mean we’re always wrong? Not necessarily – everyone gets it right sometimes! But I think what God is trying to get at is that our first reactions are very often the opposite of his. We may eventually come to the right conclusion, for various reasons. But that gut instinct, that spontaneous first response – that’s the essence of “our way” and it’s usually the wrong way to go.

Here’s an example from my week, last week. Our old car broke down, to the point where it was clear that putting more money into it would be foolish. My first reaction was: “This is terrible. It’s so stressful, and now we have to eat into our savings to get another car, and it takes so much time and effort to find something and then take care of all the paperwork. This week sucks.”

That reaction is neither godly nor constructive. The way I should have (and eventually did) respond to the situation was more like “Well, that old car gave us our money’s worth. I’m so grateful that we live close enough to work that being without a car for a few days isn’t a hardship, and I’m so blessed that God immediately provided us with the perfect car that we were able to pay cash for without going into debt. The whole process of purchasing and paperwork went so easily. God is so good to us!”.

It took awhile to get there, but I believe that is the response that is God’s way, as opposed to “my way” which is ungrateful, pessimistic, and kind of bitchy – and completely unproductive since the situation is not going to change no matter how much I whine about it. I need to learn to check my responses when seemingly-not-so-great things happen and see how they line up with what I know of God’s way.

Not that I can know precisely or fully what he’s doing in a situation, but if I can learn to hold up my initial reactions to what I know of the nature of God, I will gain a more Christ-like attitude in my view of life. And the more I know about the nature of God through spending time with him and studying his Word, the more my first reactions to situations will start to mimic his, and the “higher” my thoughts will be.

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