“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
When bad things happen, we sometimes assume the role of a therapist psychoanalyzing God. The conversation might go something like this:
“God, it says in Psalm 145 (NLT) verse 3—‘Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise. No one can measure His greatness,’
and verses 5–7—‘I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor . . . Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness.’
Verse 18 says—‘The Lord is near to all who call on Him.’
So, God, if You are so great and good, and if You are near when we ask for help, then why do You allow bad things to happen?”
And God answers, “But you don’t understand!”
During this month of Thanksgiving, I want to challenge you to look at God from David’s perspective in Psalm 145. Keep in mind that David’s life was filled with trouble. Saul wanted to murder him, he ran away, hid in caves, and went without food. After he became king, David lost a child, his best friend was killed, his enemies tried to overthrow him, and his own son tried to kill him. Certainly, David asked why, and in doing so he learned to change the way he thought about God.
Read the second part of verse 3. Here David tells us that no one is able to psychoanalyze God. There are no answers to our why questions, because we humans cannot begin to understand God’s thoughts. God does not behave according to our rules. So, instead of asking why, David accepts that God is too great for the human mind to understand, and he chooses to praise His greatness.
In verses 5–7, understanding that he can’t comprehend God’s thoughts, David meditates on God’s Creation. He concentrates on what his human mind is able to comprehend as good. He finds so many awesome things, that he says to God, “Everyone will be talking about how great You are!”
Then, in verse 18, David shares his belief that God is near to those who trust Him. He has learned through his own experiences that
1. believers should accept God for who He is and praise Him in all circumstances;
2. when it is hard to praise God in bad times, it helps believers to concentrate on God’s goodness as they are able to comprehend it; and
3. when believers do these two things, God draws nearer to them.
Has this been a bad year for you? Are you half-heartedly thanking God during this season of gratefulness? Then try this: spend from now through Thanksgiving looking at God from David’s perspective. See if God draws near to you and transforms your fuzzy gratitude into heartfelt gratefulness.