“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”Isaiah 55:8-9
God’s Thoughts and God’s Ways
In Lineage of Grace, Francine tells the stories of five women, names we know well and names we may not know as well: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary, women who bring us to from Old Testament prophesies and promises to their fulfillment at the manger and at the cross.
In her writing, Francine gives us a “bigger picture.” She walks us down the road with Tamar in her despair. We hear Rahab speaking with the Israelite spies. We better understand the difficult decision made by Ruth as she “goes home” with her mother-in-law, Naomi. We better understand the circumstances as well as the consequences of Bathsheba’s encounter with David. We see and hear Mary’s obedience.
But these stories also challenge us.
- Tamar’s father-in-law is the father of her sons Perez and Zerah. Yes, it’s a story of hope, but her situation involves not easily understood expectations of that time regarding the death of a husband.
- Rahab helps Israelite spies preparing to enter the Promised Land. Yes, it’s story of faith, but Rahab was a prostitute, not exactly our idea for a Biblical heroine.
- Ruth follows her mother-in-law back home to Bethlehem. Yes, it’s story of love, but it feels like a story of trickery as Ruth gets Boaz to be her family redeemer.
- Bathsheba is the wife of King David, a man after God’s own heart. She was the mother of wise King Solomon. Her story is one of grace, but before that grace, we see temptation, deceit, infidelity, and murder.
- And Mary, a young woman who said yes, not knowing what might lie ahead for herself, her family, and the world.
The subtitle to Francine’s book is “Five stories of unlikely women who changed eternity.” Not the five women or the five circumstances I would have chosen, if mapping out a redemption plan for the world.
Why? Because God’s thoughts are not my thoughts and God’s ways are not my ways. Francine helps us better appreciate how God can use broken people and difficult circumstances to bring about His will, His way, His when.
When we think about God’s thoughts not being our thoughts and God’s ways not being our ways, it’s both convicting and comforting.
Yes, it’s convicting. We’ve all fallen short of God’s will for our lives. Our best efforts are just that: our best efforts and our best efforts fail miserably in the light of God’s thoughts, His plan for each one of us.
But it’s also comforting, because God’s able to use our missteps and shortcomings, our smallest mistake and biggest sin, for His glory, for His purpose.
More than once, I’ve said (out loud!), “Really, God?! I was Your best choice for _____” (you fill in the blank). And His answer has been Yes!—again and again and again. It’s His answer for you too.
In my “former life,” I was a lobbyist, a terrible lobbyist. Not only could I not keep track of how a bill becomes law, but I couldn’t stop keeping track of the score. My life revolved around winning and losing, getting back and getting even. I cringe thinking back to my tone of voice, the condition of my heart, the distance between me and God.
Years later God enabled that same woman to write of His love and faithfulness, to speak of His grace. Not the person I would have picked. Not the person I would have said, “She’s perfect.”
It’s easy to look back on our past and think, really, God? We know that God’s thoughts are not our thought, so we discount who we are and what we’ve been called to do.
But we are all the next chapters in God’s great story: we are unlikely women who are changing history, because we’re women who are following God’s will, His way, and His when—imperfectly, inadequately, insufficiently, but faithfully. Some days we say “Yes, Lord” having no idea what we’re really saying yes to. Some days we’re crying out in frustration, angst, anger, and confusion. Some days we’re just trying to figure out where to go and what to do when we get there. Some days we’re gleaning the wheat in the fields of our lives.
God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and HIs ways are not our ways, but He continues to shine His light in us, through us, and all around us.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for this time together. We know Your thoughts are not our thoughts and Your ways are not our ways. We thank You for including us in Your great story, unlikely women changing history as we follow Your will, Your way, Your when. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.
Really! God’s thoughts are not our thoughts!