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. 

Turn Your Life Verse Into an Affirmation

What is your life verse? 

You know, the one that every time you read it or think about it, it just speaks truth to you. If nothing comes to mind, ask God to give you one—a verse that He wants you to hold on to, to make it our own, during the good times and the bad.

I’ve had various verses that have spoken to me personally over the years. For at least 25 years, Proverbs 3:5-6 has been at the top of the list:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Long ago, It felt like God laid this passage on my heart, prompting me to hold it close because I would need it someday.

And, oh, how I’ve needed those words. I’ve had to remind myself over and over to trust God completely and not to rely on my own understanding or beliefs about the situation at hand.

Here lately, God has prompted me to keep in mind a different verse—Romans 8:28: 

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

This verse reminds me every day that no matter what challenges I face, it’s all working out for the best in my life. It may not seem like it now, but God has a plan and everything is falling into place.

In fact, lately when I’ve felt stressed or overwhelmed, I just yell out (to myself), “Romans 8:28, baby!” That simple reminder is enough to reset my emotions, help me remember that God is in control, and keep me from spiraling into an abyss of doom, gloom, and depression. 

One technique I’ve used a few times is to take several key passages of scripture that truly speak to me and write them down in a personalized way on either an index card or small piece of paper that I can look at each day.

For example, using the two passages in Proverbs and Romans, I might write the following affirmation:

Today I trust in the Lord with all my heart and will not rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I’m acknowledging Him, and He is making my paths straight. In everything God is working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.

Philippians 4:4 and 4:6-7 are other powerful passages about God’s goodness and peace that I have often meditated on when life’s challenges feel overwhelming. I could personalize them as well and add them to my daily affirmation.

So, when I’m finished, I have the following written out:

Today I trust in the Lord with all my heart and will not rely on my own understanding. In all my ways I’m acknowledging Him, and He is making my paths straight. In everything God is working for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose.

I will rejoice in the Lord today. I will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I’ll let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Prov. 3:5-6, Rom. 8:28, Phil. 4:4, 6-7

These are some of the verses that have greatly helped me over the years. Maybe they’re special to you as well. Or maybe you need to search the Bible and find your own verses that resonate with your unique circumstances.

Once you’ve personalized and written out your affirmation, take a moment first thing in the morning to read it, out loud if possible. 

Read it again while you’re eating lunch, and refer to it anytime during the day that you feel stress, anxiety, or depression creeping up on you. 

Bedtime is another fantastic time to read your affirmation and set your mind on God as you drift off to sleep.

Let God’s word soak into your spirit and drive out all the negative feelings and emotions that are trying to take root in your mind. Focus on God and His promises.

You’ll feel more joyful and hopeful if you do.

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.