When God’s Wisdom Does Not Make Sense

This article was written by and published by BCC


You confess sound doctrine and know your Bible reasonably well. However, when reality confronts beliefs, there is a crisis. You want to be sure that God is wise, but everything around you seems to indicate the opposite. You are hesitant to admit it, but sometimes God’s wisdom does not make any sense to you. What is the point of a broken friendship in God’s plan? Or why would God allow a prodigal son? Does any good come from a dry marriage relationship? What about a severe medical diagnosis or financial bankruptcy? It does not make any sense, and you cannot see where your pointless situation leads you to a better place.

Some people find comfort from popular wisdom, such as “God writes straight with crooked lines.” But popular wisdom cannot take us very far. Sooner or later, popular wisdom will show its insufficiency, draining our hope and spiritual strength. But our experience does not need to be one of confusion. The solution is far superior to popular common sense (or should I say nonsense?).

Even when it does not make sense to you, I encourage you to revisit your faith and theology to find Someone who makes sense of everything. We can rely on theological truth that points us to a truly wise God who puts every detail of our lives in place. In God’s Word, we find the Redeemer of our troubled souls.

Therefore, consider the fertile ground where questions about God’s wisdom flourish—the gap between expectation and the reality of daily life. Then, reflect upon the wisdom of God in the truth of the gospel.

The Gap Between Expectation and Life Circumstances

Psalm 72 vividly describes a righteous King and His eternal kingdom. A righteous King “delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper,” and “has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight” (Ps. 72:12-14). And, in addition to that, Psalm 72 creates some expectations for the people of God: “May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! May his name endure forever; his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him; all nations call him blessed” (Ps. 72:16-17). The second book of Psalms ends with a theological expectation of blessedness under the wise ruling of the righteous King.

But what happens when experience delivers something different than theological expectation? We have the answer in Psalm 73. The third book of the Psalms addresses the problem of a reality other than expectations. Instead of the servants of righteous King to prosper (Ps. 72:17), it is the arrogant who thrives (Ps. 73:3). This particular situation leads the psalmist to question why he pursued holiness (Ps. 73:13), recognizing the weight of just thinking about the matter (Ps. 73:16). Life is not what it is supposed to be, and it does not make sense. Questioning God’s wisdom occurs in a reality that does not reflect previous life expectations created from partial theological knowledge.

The questioning of God under these circumstances is not exclusive to the psalmist. Sara laughed at the possibility of having a child in old age (Gen. 18:12). Zechariah also questioned God’s wisdom concerning the possibility of having a child (Luke 1:18). We can find many examples of spiritual struggles in the Scriptures, and most of them have a trend in common: “life does not make any sense since my reality is different than my expectations for life.”

The Gospel “Does Not Make Any Sense” Either

When expectation does not equate with life experience, it is the right time to adjust expectations with gospel truth. The gospel does not make any sense either. How can a righteous one die for the unjust? Sing with Charles Wesley:

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

There are several questions with no easy answer. Some of them reflect legitimate expectations for a blessed life in an unpleasant reality. But, there is a question that must be answered: how can He die for you? The answer is part of the same “depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33). Have faith in the wise God amid apparent confusion. Be confident that the mess is a limited perception of God’s wisdom and His more extensive plan. The same blessed wisdom that manifested itself on the cross is the wisdom that is guiding our steps and circumstances (Prov. 16:1).

Knowing that God works in unsearchable ways may not satisfy our agitated hearts and troubled soul in the short term. However, it points us to a larger reality where our circumstances play only a small part. Not having all the answers will guide us to an informed step of faith, taken under the blessed guidance of the gospel. God’s Word leads us to understand everything in the fear of the Lord (Prov. 28:5). God’s Word can enlighten our eyes to understand the world around us, even when it does not make any sense (Ps. 19:7-8).

As you gain a more profound knowledge of God, enjoy the treasure of God’s wisdom available to you in Christ (Col. 2:2, 3), who has become our wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30). As you grow in your Christian walk, consider the way that God has chosen to reveal His wisdom: the church (Eph. 3:10). Instead of questioning God’s wisdom on a lonely journey, enjoy God’s wisdom with the body of Christ.

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