NEW YEAR, NEW MERCIES (Day 14)

 Don’t be discouraged today. You can leave your “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” in the hands of the One who loves you and rules all things.

Even though you’re a person of faith who has acquired some degree of biblical literacy and theological knowledge, there’s one thing you can be sure of—God will confuse you. Your theology will give you only a limited ability to exegete your experiences. The commands, principles, and case studies of Scripture will take you only so far in your quest to figure out your life. There will be moments when you simply don’t understand what is going on. In fact, you will face moments when what the God who has declared Himself to be good brings into your life won’t seem good. It may even seem bad, very bad. 

Now, if your faith is based on your ability to fully understand your past, present, and future, then your moments of confusion will become moments of weakening faith. But the reality is that you are not left with only two options—understand everything and rest in peace or understand little and be tormented by anxiety. There is a third way. It really is the way of true biblical faith. The Bible tells you that real peace is found in resting in the wisdom of the One who holds all of your “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” in His loving hands. Isaiah captures this well with these comforting words: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3). 

Real, sturdy, lasting peace, peace that doesn’t rise and fall with circumstances, isn’t to be found in picking apart your life until you have understood all of the components. You will never understand it all because God, for your good and His glory, keeps some of it shrouded in mystery. So peace is found only in trust, trust of the One who is in careful control of all the things that tend to rob you of your peace. He knows, He understands, He is in control of what appears to be chaos, He is never surprised, He is never confused, He never worries or loses a night’s sleep, He never walks off the job to take a rest, He never gets so busy with one thing that He neglects another, and He never plays favorites. 

You need to remind yourself again and again of His wise and loving control, not because that will immediately make your life make sense, but because it will give you rest and peace in those moments that all of us face at one time or another—when life doesn’t seem to make any sense. 

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