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"— perplexed, but not in despair —" (v. 8)
For reading & meditation:
Today we stay with the thought that half our spiritual perplexities would never arise if we started out by being prepared not to understand immediately the things that God does or allows. We must accept that one of the fundamental principles of the Christian life is the truth that there will be many times when God will work things out in a manner exactly opposite to the way we think He should. If I had been taught this in the early days of my Christian life, it would have saved me from many spiritual struggles. Most of my perplexities arose because I failed to realise that I was dealing with a mind that is omniscient - that God's mind is not like my mind. The ways of God are inscrutable; His mind is infinite and eternal and His purposes are beyond understanding. When we are dealing with such a great and mighty God it should not surprise us that He allows things to happen which we find perplexing. If we insist that everything in life should be plain, we shall soon find ourselves in the state in which the psalmist found himself - full of doubt, disillusionment and fear. We should note, however, that perplexity is not necessarily sinful. It only becomes wrong when we allow our perplexity to drive us to despair. The apostle Paul, as our text for today shows us, was perplexed but he was not in despair. Make sure you understand the distinction. It is not foolish or wrong to say: "I don't know what is happening." It is only foolish to say: "God doesn't know what is happening."
O Father, how comforting it is to realise that I can be perplexed and yet not fall into sin. Help me to keep this distinction clear. Drive the truth deep into my spirit today that You always know what is happening. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Taken from 'Every Day Light' devotional, by Selwyn Hughes. © 1999 and is used by permission. All rights reserved.
Hughes, Selwyn. "Devotional for November 14". "Every Day Light". <http://classic.studylight.org/devos/edl/index.cgi?FirstSelectMonth=&FirstSelectDay=>. 1999.