We often think we could do better, if things were in our own hands. We think we could direct our affairs in life so as to get more happiness and greater good out of life. Sometimes it seems to us that many things go wrong, and that the consequences to us are very calamitous. It must be confessed that in this world, there is a great deal of discontentment with the ways of the Lord and His Divine purpose for our lives. Not many people seem to be quite satisfied with their circumstances, and there are many who think that the Divine dealings with them are not in accordance with that love which they are told directs the affairs of all God’s children.
We think that things would be better for us, if we had the direction of our own affairs. We would immediately eliminate all that is painful and unpleasant in our lot. We would have only prosperities, with no adversities; only joys, with no sorrows. We would exclude all pain and trouble from our life. Our days would all be sunny, with blue skies and no clouds or storms. Our paths would all be soft and easy, and strewn with flowers, without thorns or any rough places.
All this has a very pleasing aspect for us – as long as we think of it lightly and in a superficial way. Would we not be happier, and would not life mean more to us in blessedness and goodness, if we could direct our own affairs and leave out the painful, the bitter, the adverse, and the sorrowful? That is probably what most of us would say at first, before we have thought of the question deeply and looked on to the end. But really the greatest misfortune that could come to us in this world would be to have the direction of the affairs and the shaping of the experiences of our lives put into our own hands!
We have no wisdom to know what is best for ourselves. Today is not all of life; there is a long future, perhaps many years in this world, and then immortality hereafter. What would give us greatest pleasure today might be harmful for us in days to come. Present gratification might cost us untold loss and hurt in the future.
We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, and from struggle; but perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most good for us, which will best mature our Christian graces, and which will fit us for the best service to God and man.
We should always remember that the purpose of living here on earth is not merely to have present comfort, to get along with the least trouble, to gather the most we can of the world’s treasures, and to win the brightest fame. We are here to grow into the beauty of Christ, and to do the portion of God’s will that belongs to us. Therefore, we cannot work out our own course, for we do not know what the Divine purpose for us is. We cannot choose our own circumstances and experiences, for we do not know the pattern set for our lives.
There is something wonderfully inspiring in the thought that God has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. We do not come drifting into this world, and we do not drift through it like waves on the ocean. We are sent from God, each one of us with a Divine plan for his or her life – something God wants us to do, and some place He wants us to fill. All through our lives, we are in the hands of God, Who chooses our place and orders our circumstances, and makes all things work together for our good.
Our part in all this is the acceptance of God’s will for our lives, as that will is made known to us day by day. If we thus acquiesce in the Divine way for us, we shall fulfill the Divine purpose. The highest honor that could be conferred upon us is to occupy such a place in the thought of God! We cannot doubt that His way for us is better than ours, since He is infinitely wiser than we are, and loves us so. It may be painful and hard; but in the pain and the hardness, there is blessing.
Today it may seem that it would be better if we could miss life’s sorrows and have only joys; but when we get home, we shall see that the best days of all our years have been the days we thought the saddest, and found the hardest to pass through. When we get to heaven, we shall know that God has made no mistake in anything He has done for us, however He may have broken into our plans and spoiled our pleasant dreams.
It would not be better for us if we could have our own way. When we thought we were choosing wisely, we would find we had lost a heavenly good for some worldly trinket which we could keep only for a day. When we thought the path we were taking would lead to lasting good, we would discover that it ended only in darkness and sorrow. It should be reason for measureless gratitude that our lives are not in our own poor feeble hands, but in the hands of our infinitely wise and loving Father! “My times are in Your hands!” (Psalm 31:15)
We only need to accept God’s way and go as He leads; and at the end, we shall find that we have never been unwisely led, even in the smallest matter. Indeed, at every step, we shall see that we have been brought to some good. We do not know what the future – even the nearest hour of the future – may have for us. But we know that we cannot drift beyond our Father’s love and care, and we know that all that may seem dark or disastrous will reveal joy and blessing at the end!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
photo by Creative Clicks Photography | Lightstock.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.