The God Factor

There are all sorts of confusing events in life we have to navigate. And we often struggle to find meaning in seemingly meaningless events. For some, we are the cause of everything, good or bad, that happens in our lives. For others, there are vast invisible forces at work and we’re just along for the ride.

I believe the scriptures show that God works through all of our circumstances for his purposes and, at the same time, we have a critical role in shaping our own future. Proverbs 16 includes a thread about the role God plays in shaping and molding the events in our lives.

One line says, “The Lord has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of disaster” (16:4). Everything? Does this mean God actively causes, or passively allows, twisted and unjust characters to thrive? It appears so. The writer says God even made the wicked and will call them to account, to validate God’s wisdom and character.

The untrustworthy people in your life? They’re there for a reason. One way or another, God can, and will, redeem the unfortunate circumstances in our lives for His good.

And while we wait for God to execute His perfect purposes for the world, we have to trust he is determining certain outcomes for our best interests. And many times, as maddening as it is for us, God’s intended outcome doesn’t match our detailed plans.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” A friend sent me the following quote recently “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Or in the words of the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” We chart our course based on our limited understanding of ourselves, our circumstances and God. But he gently redirects us onto paths we may not have chosen, but are usually glad to have “stumbled” onto.

In ancient times, people regularly used lots, a kind of die, to get direction from God on major decisions. The inquirer had a job: cast the lots, roll the die.
And God had a job: make sure they land in the right way.
The result? People who asked God for guidance received it.
Proverbs 16:33 says this “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” The good news here is that God is actively intervening in the circumstances of those who ask for it and ask Him too.

Craig Custance