God’s Nature Vs. God’s Methods—What’s the Difference?

Is there a difference between God’s nature and God’s methods? I believe that God is infinitely good, but something inside me questions His methods—that perhaps they’re not always in my best interests. So, does that mean I don’t really think that God is all-good, after all?

I sometimes picture God as a mad scientist type, with white hair and a white beard, clipboard in hand and watching over His creation. All of us are like little mice, running to and fro through a gigantic maze. Some of the time it feels that God is controlling all the things going on in the maze. 

“Let’s throw a little rain at them and see how they respond. How about a little cancer here, a little car trouble over there? What do they do then?”

At other times it seems that God isn’t doing anything but standing back and watching everything unfold on its own. I know this deist view isn’t accurate, but sometimes it’s hard not to believe it’s reality. 

Admittedly, it’s hard to picture God as loving when I’m also picturing him as standing back from His creation, aloof and unconcerned about the goings-on of the individuals He is presiding over.

So why do I sometimes see God this way? I believe it’s the sheer silence that we get out of God most of the time. We pray and seek Him, yet for the most part He is silent. At best, we get a barely discernible whisper from within our spirit when He does speak directly to us. 

It seems that if He were interested in us, He would make himself more known to us. Seems like a fair assessment.

I realize I’m being hard on God with this line of reasoning. And I know that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts, so I’ll never understand why He does the things He does and doesn’t do the things he doesn’t. That’s just part of being human.

But just because I don’t understand God’s methods doesn’t mean that I can’t trust him completely. In fact, that is the very essence of faith, isn’t it—to trust God even when there’s no logical reason to do so? I believe that is a solid definition of faith.

In my heart of hearts I know that God is good. I’ve always believed that I think. But that doesn’t mean I always appreciate his methods. Often I feel like things that happen in life ought not to happen, that I go through hardships that I could just as easily do without. 

As they say, “God never wastes a tear,” which means that everything is part of God’s divine purpose and plan. Perhaps I should just accept that and move on. There is no sense getting upset when things don’t go the way I think they should. 

Either I trust God and His methods or I don’t. It’s that simple..

These are problems that I will probably always struggle with; it’s part of human nature to try to figure out the mysteries of life. However, we must not let these thoughts taint our view of the infinitely loving God who created us and who loves us unconditionally.

That’s where faith comes in. 

Quit Trying to Understand God

If you want to commit your life to God and walk in obedience to Him, you must forget what you think you know about how life works. As mere humans, we can never fully understand God’s ways.

We’re told in Isaiah 55:9,

For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If you stop and think about it, nothing about God and His creation really makes any sense. 

For example, in our human way of understanding, everything has a beginning and an end. 

Just look at our lives. We’re born, we live a certain length of time, then we die. That holds true for every single human being. There’s no variance to this pattern. Some may live longer than others, but every person has a beginning and an end.

God is different, however. The scriptures tell us that He has always been. He was not created by another entity, and He has never not existed. There’s no time in history when God wasn’t around. He created the concept of past, present, and future as we know it.

Our human brains struggle to make sense of this. How can something or someone have always been in existence? It’s not possible, our minds scream. Yet, it’s true. 

If we can truly wrap our heads around this fact, then we’ve come a long way toward accepting all the truths we’re told about God in the Bible. 

If we believe that God is all-powerful, then surely we can grasp the fact that He flooded the entire earth, or parted the sea so His people could escape capture, or resurrected His Son from the dead.

We, ourselves, can’t do any of these things; it’s not within our power to do so. This fact makes it quite difficult to believe that these things are possible. We simply must suspend disbelief and realize that there are things that a divine being can do that we simply can’t. 

I believe that’s why the Bible begins the way that it does. In Genesis, we’re told in detail how God created the heavens and the earth, then populated the earth with a man and woman and a multitude of animal species. 

He just puts it all out there right off the bat. If we can accept the truths found in Genesis, the rest of the Bible shouldn’t be a problem for us. 

The question is, do you believe the narratives found in the Bible? If you struggle to believe what you read in scripture, ask God to strengthen your faith; He’ll do it. He wants us to wholeheartedly accept Him and His ways.

To do so, it’s necessary to put aside human logic and accept the fact that God’s divine nature can’t be explained using our limited logic.

If you can do that, you can begin to commune more fully with God and worship Him as the Divine Creator that He is.

Just remember—it’s not always supposed to make sense. If it did, we wouldn’t need faith. And we’re told in Hebrews 11:6a that without faith it is impossible to please God.

So exercise your faith today. Don’t worry about understanding God. Simply worship Him by pondering on His glorious attributes. 

God is Good All the Time

You may be like me in that you often struggle with doubting God. I hate to admit it, but far too often I don’t trust that God has my best interests in mind when things don’t go the way I think they should. 

In my heart, I know that I can and should trust God completely. After all, He created the universe, so He should be able to handle the affairs of my life, shouldn’t He?

Then why do I allow my lack of faith to bubble to the surface and keep me from experiencing all the peace of God that He wants for His children?

If you also struggle with a lack of faith, then I’ll tell you the same thing I tell myself: God is good all the time—all the time, God is good.

Try this. The next time you’re faced with a challenging situation and you’re tempted to question God and His motives, take a moment to reflect on a previous trial in your life. It may have been last week, or it could even be from decades ago in your childhood. 

Just make sure it’s a situation where you can clearly see God’s hand at work. Perhaps he worked out the situation supernaturally in a way you can’t explain. Or maybe it was something simple—just an affirmative answer to a prayer sent up to Heaven.

The point is to recognize God’s work in the situation. Think about and really appreciate how His touch worked out in your favor. Perhaps even thank God again for His help during this time, no matter how long ago it was.

Now, here’s the key. If you can truly see and appreciate God’s handiwork during this trial in your life, you realize He can be trusted. 

He’s got your back, as the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:28:

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

It doesn’t matter what kind of challenge you’re facing. We’re assured that when it’s all said and done, God is working it out for your benefit

Even if you’ve just lost your job, or a loved one has died, or your car has broken down on the side of the highway—something good will come out of this situation.

God, in His infinite wisdom and goodness knows what He’s doing. And as mere human beings, there’s no way we can possibly begin to understand His actions. Even though the situation may look like a total mess to us, it is completely under His control. 

In fact, in Ecclesiastes 8:17 we’re told that we can’t ever hope to have full understanding of God’s actions:

I observed all the work of God and concluded that a person is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun.

Also, in Isaiah 64:4 we read:

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

These are just two of the verses that tell us we will never comprehend the mysteries of God. Therefore, trust is the key. 

If God came through for us before, He can and will again. We shouldn’t worry or fret over the situation because God already has it worked out.

God exists outside of our human concept of time. While we can only live in the present—having already experienced the past and waiting for the future to happen—God is not limited in this way. He is in the past, present, and future all at one time. 

He knows exactly what is going to happen to us. To Him, it’s already settled. And while we can’t exist in the same nonlinear space that God does, we can surely trust Him that everything in our lives will work out for the best. 

Once again, if we can look back on our lives and recognize God’s activity during our times of crisis, we can rest solidly on the fact that He will do the same again. 

The outcome may not look like we’re expecting it to or think it should, but we can be certain that it’s all for the best.

God is loyal and He loves His children. Waiting patiently on Him is an exercise in faith. Our faith will actually grow during challenging times as we rest in our belief that God will work every situation out for our benefit. 

After all, God is more concerned about building our character than He is about our physical comfort. Certainly, he would much rather shape our attitudes about material things than give in to our request for more money, a newer car, or a bigger house.

That’s not to say He doesn’t want us to have those things, but if it comes down to either more income or a stronger Christian character, He is going to act in a way that builds our character.

That may not be what we want to happen, at least in the here and now, but in the end, we’ll be better off because of God’s plan.

So, when it’s all said and done, simply trust God. Trust Him that He loves us and that He wants only the best for us. He’s our loving Heavenly father. And what father doesn’t want the best for His kids? 

A toddler doesn’t understand his parents’ motives for telling him to stay away from a busy roadway, but avoiding the dangers of passing traffic is obviously for his benefit. 

The same holds true for us. Even though we don’t understand why things happen as they do in our lives, God does, and He’s firmly in control.

In that, we can be absolutely certain. Just as that toddler doesn’t have to worry about food and shelter, we don’t have to worry about our basic needs. God has everything under control. 

Remembering that God is good and that He’s working on our behalf will help us rest in peace no matter what we’re faced with.

It’s Easy to Be Mad at God

It’s easy to be mad at God. There are multiple opportunities every day to blame God and distance yourself from Him. 

I don’t know why life is this way. I suppose a theologian would say it’s because we live in a fallen world. It’s imperfect, so there are naturally going to be situations every day that we’re unhappy with.

And since God is omnipotent, He’s the one to blame for all our troubles, right?

That’s the trap so many of us fall into, myself included. 

Even though I know it’s wrong, I still often blame God for the little annoyances of life. Like when I went into a restaurant recently to pick up a carryout order and only grabbed one of the two bags I was supposed to get.

I thought to myself, Why couldn’t God have prompted me somehow that there was another bag I needed to pick up?

I mean, that’s a logical thought, isn’t it? He knew I was only picking up one of the bags. He could have whispered to me to double-check that I got everything, couldn’t He?

Certainly, He could have done that. But He didn’t. I don’t know why, other than that He was using the situation as a teaching tool of some sort. Perhaps He wanted me to learn something from the experience or to grow my faith. 

Maybe he was hoping that I would indeed have the thought that He could have prompted me about the second bag, but that I would then remember that it doesn’t matter because He is all good.

Alas, this isn’t what happened, because I found myself questioning Him and His ways.

But, at least I eventually did come to the conclusion that He is good, even though it took me a while. I’m a work in progress for sure.

What about you? Do you blame God when things don’t go exactly as you think they should? 

If you do, why not just go ahead and accept His goodness now, without waiting? Cut out all the steps in the middle and realize that He loves you and is looking out for you. 

I believe that’s what He’s hoping you’ll do.

The Christian’s Advantage

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

If you are a Christian, you have an advantage over non-believers. That’s right, the above verse says so. 

Christians are what this verse refers to as the called. So if we’ve chosen to follow Christ and we love God, we can rest in full assurance that everything that happens to us in our life is working out for the best. 

We don’t have to wonder if the future will work out, as we’ve been guaranteed that God Himself is at the helm of our lives, making sure things go exactly as He has planned.

Now, it may not always feel like things are working out for the best. We will have days when it seems that everything is going downhill. 

However, these are the times when our faith must kick in. We must have faith that God is still in control, no matter what the circumstances look like.

As James tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Not only can we rest in faith, knowing that God is working everything out for the best, we can also count on the trials we face to cause our faith to grow. 

The next time we find ourselves in an unwanted situation, we’ll have that much more faith to stand firm during the trial.

The person who has never accepted Christ into their life does not have any of these assurances. 

When they face the trials of everyday life, they really have nothing to fall back on.

As Christians, we have the assurance that God is on our side—every day, all the time.

Does this make you want to share the gospel with someone you know?

Follow This Biblical Pathway For Success

What if you believed you truly had the power of God on your side? Would you feel differently about your life than you currently do?

Maybe you already believe that you have God’s power working in your life and you live every day knowing that God is working through you.

I’ve personally struggled with this concept—that is, believing that God’s enormous power is really working on my behalf to help me succeed in whatever I may find myself doing.

In fact, in some of my lowest moments, I’ve found myself doubting God—doubting that He cares and doubting that He is doing anything in my life. 

Logically, I know that those thoughts come from our enemy, because

all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Why is it so difficult for us to remember and rely on this promise from our loving Heavenly Father?

We should walk through each day in victory, knowing without a doubt that God is doing good things in our lives because we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

It is hard to live this way, however, as we are continually bombarded with negativity.

After all, we live in a fallen world and we’re subject to all the tactics of the devil designed to derail our Christian walk.

It is far too easy to let the enemy keep us focused on all the mundane issues of our lives, rather than walking in strength by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent to be a helper and a comforter to Christ followers. 

We are told,

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

And,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

So, what is the answer then? On a practical level, how do we tap into this power that is waiting for us?

My belief is that it all begins with prayer—simply acknowledging God as all-powerful and asking Him for His help every day. 

Then, we must simply believe.

Everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received it and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

God is waiting to help us. He wants us to be successful doing His work on earth. If we sincerely seek Him and His power, He will honor our request.

Since the devil is always on the lookout for any chance to cause chaos, confusion, and evil, I believe that we should also ask for wisdom. 

We need to be aware of any weaknesses or areas of our lives we leave open for the enemy to use to his advantage. Once again, we are promised,

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him

James 1:5

God wants our success, and He will give us wisdom to help us get His work done.

While prayer and faith are the key ingredients needed to tap into God’s power, asking for His help isn’t a one-time thing. 

We must seek Him daily, reaching out to Him to acknowledge our weaknesses and ask for His help. 

That is the path to accessing the power of God every day. Following it will ensure that we’re successful in whatever He has called us to do to advance His kingdom.

Wait For God’s Timing

Has God ever come through for you? 

Has there ever been a situation in your life when you needed Him to do something that only He could do—so you prayed and God did exactly what you asked him for?

If so, then you know from this past experience that He cares for you and hears your prayers.

It was a faith-building experience. Through it, you gained just a little more faith that God is good and does only good things. 

Now you have that much more faith to carry you through the rough times. If God came through for you once, then He’ll do it again.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that the next time God shows up, it may not be in exactly the way you think He should. 

God has a particular way of doing things. It’s His way, and that may or may not line up with what you have pictured. 

You probably have an answer all laid out in your mind about your situation. You know how it should work out. Or, at least you think you do.

God may have a whole different idea about it, and you have to be flexible and patient. 

When it comes to waiting on God and His timing, patience is important. He usually doesn’t work in the same timeframe we do. 

We want an answer yesterday when we’re faced with a problem. God’s timing may not give you an answer for quite some time. 

And when He does answer, it may look totally different from what you expect.

But one thing is for certain—it will work out for the best. We’re assured of that in Romans 8:28.

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

We just have to wait on God to do His thing. And we must remain prayerful during this time, because we don’t want to miss anything He may be telling us about His plan. 

If there’s something we need to do, He’ll let us know. That’s why we need to stay connected to Him in the meantime. We have to keep the lines of communication open so we can hear Him.

He wants to come through for us—never forget that. But we need to wait patiently in faith for Him and His timing.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11:6

Faith and patience are the keys. 

He WILL come through, because He said He would in the verse from Romans. 

Just don’t get ahead of God and try to work things out on your own. Doing this can often make a tough situation even worse.

Wait on God and you’ll eventually see what He has in store for you.

You’ll be glad you did.

Is the Bible Still Valid?

Can the Bible be trusted as a reliable source of wisdom for today’s modern world? 

Society and culture are vastly different from the way they were when the Bible was written. 

People from biblical times could not have imagined the world we live in, with all our modern conveniences and technology—no more than we can imagine with any accuracy what life on this planet will resemble 1000 or 2000 years from now. 

The question is a valid one because the whole Christian faith hinges on an accurate rendering of the Bible and a solid belief in this accuracy. If we don’t have the Bible to rely on, then we really don’t know what truth is. 

We have to be able to answer the question to our satisfaction so we can continue to lean on the Bible as our anchor and truth.

The problem is, if we start to question any part of the Bible as far as its accuracy and truth, then we have to call into question the entire Bible. 

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Simply put, either the Bible is true or it isn’t. It can’t be partially true; we can’t accept sections of the Bible as fact and conclude that other parts of it are false.

Some people will probably say that I’m over simplifying a very complex question. I disagree, however. 

On the contrary, I believe that God intentionally makes some aspects of His kingdom very simple. 

After all, we’re told in the Bible that we must have the faith of a child if we expect to make sense of it all. Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 (CSB),

Unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

To me, this means that we simply must believe. 

Believe what God tells us. Believe that He created us in His image. Believe that Jesus is His Son and that He was crucified for our sins.

No, none of this makes any logical sense. After all, if God created us, who created God? 

At some point, however, we have to stop with the questions and simply rest in faith. God is God and we aren’t. 

He gave us the Scriptures to guide us through life, which as we know can be treacherous. The Bible is meant to give us hope, strength, and wisdom. 

If we can’t trust the Bible in its entirety, we can’t trust God in His entirety, because the Bible is

breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

I chose the English Standard Version for this verse because it renders God’s role in the formation of the scriptures as “breathed,” rather than merely “inspired,” which other versions use. 

The Bible comes literally from the mouth of God and was given to us to help us become the strong, solid Christ-followers He wants us to be. 

We can’t pick and choose what we believe is true in God’s word. Either it’s all true, or it’s all a fallacy. 

I side with the former conclusion, which means I believe that the Bible is as valid today as it was 2000 years ago. 

We can still turn to it to find wisdom and truth, just as our ancestors have for generations. Unlike fashion, the Bible never goes out of style.

What about you? Do you believe the Bible is still valid?

Photo by Wendy van Zyl from Pexels

You Can’t Out-Sin God’s Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

As believers in Christ, we’ll never be outside of God’s forgiveness. 

Think about that for a minute…

There’s nothing we can do that God will not forgive us for—so long as we’ve trusted Jesus for our salvation.

That’s the key. Without Jesus, there is no forgiveness. 

Instead, there’s a great gulf between God and us because no one is able to completely keep all tenets of the law that God gave to His people. 

That’s the reason for Jesus. God the Father knew that man doesn’t have the ability to follow the law completely, keeping even the smallest detail without sinning. As we’re told in James 2:10:

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.

It doesn’t matter if we tell a so-called “white lie,” or if we’ve killed someone, guilty is guilty. 

However, the good news is that Jesus’ death and resurrection puts us right with God. God, being eternally just and good, couldn’t go back on the law He created, so He sent Jesus to fulfill the law. 

Through His crucifixion and subsequent rise from the grave, Jesus became the first fruits of all of us who believe in Him. All we have to do is believe in the lordship of Jesus and that He died and rose from the grave to pay for our sins. 

It’s that simple. Our works won’t get us into Heaven. Instead, our faith does. 

So, going back to forgiveness…once we become followers of Jesus, we have God’s complete forgiveness no matter how badly we mess up. All we have to do is repent and confess our sins and we can be confident that we have God’s forgiveness.

How great is that!

So, if you haven’t trusted your eternal destiny to Jesus yet, that’s the first thing you need to do. Your life will never be the same afterward. Take a moment now to invite Jesus into your heart.

Then you can rest easy, knowing that there’s nothing standing between you and fellowship with God.

Of course, as followers of Christ, we should want to avoid sin. However, being human, we will invariably fall short. When we do, thanks to Jesus we can know with confidence that we have God’s forgiveness. 

That should give each of us peace of mind!

Trust God and Be Happy

As if we didn’t already have enough reasons to trust God with our lives, could it also turn out that trusting in God will bring us happiness?

Yes, that is exactly the case. Our heavenly Father wants us to rely completely on him, so much so that He makes it that if we do trust him completely, our lives will be better for it. 

Take a look at Proverbs 16:20b in the ESV (English Standard Version):

Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

The word that is translated “blessed” in this verse can also be translated as “happy.” Some translations, including the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) actually render the verse that way. 

God is telling us that we will be happier and more joyful if we’ll just trust in Him and His guidance. Whenever our eyes stray away from God and onto our own way of thinking, we’ll get into trouble. It’s far better to trust in the Lord for everything, plus doing so will bring more joy into our lives.

In Psalm 34:8, we’re told:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Once again, the word translated as “blessed” can also mean “happy.” Go ahead and take refuge in the Lord. Make Him your mighty fortress when the challenges of life come your way, because they surely will. 

In fact, we should make it a priority to rejoice in our trials, as we’re commanded in James 1:2-3:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Let’s get to the point where we welcome struggles and challenges every day because we know they’ll increase our faith in God.

I, for one, will admit that this area has been a huge problem for me. When something goes wrong, often my first inclination is to blame God, and even get mad at Him for it.

After all, I’m a “good Christian,” right? I shouldn’t have to deal with a broken-down car or plumbing problems at 2 a.m., should I?

God never promises that following Jesus would eliminate all our problems and frustrations. What He does promise is that if we’ll take refuge in Him when faced with challenges, that we can have joy and that our faith will grow.

Furthermore, we can thrive during rough times. Just read Jeremiah 17:7-8:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream…and is not anxious in the year of drought.

Trusting in God wholeheartedly not only can bring us happiness and joy, it is also a potent antidote for anxiety. And in these trying times of global pandemic, chaos, and political upheaval, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

God wants and longs for what’s best for you. Take Him at His word—begin a new pattern of trusting Him with the entirety of your life, even the smallest of details. 

When you turn everything over to Him, He’ll shoulder the burden (1 Peter 5:7) and you can rest in the joy of the Lord.