Why does God sometimes work in mysterious ways?

Several times recently I have been reminded that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). God’s ways and thoughts are indeed higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). While I have ultimately surrendered to God and recognize that He is not obligated to explain His ways to me, I still often wonder why He so often works in mysterious ways. Why did He do _______ that way? Why did He use _______ method to accomplish this?

I do not question His judgment. I do not doubt His wisdom. I absolutely do not think I could fully understand His ways even if He explained them to me. But, I sometimes still wonder why He accomplished something a certain way.

Why did He use a bunch of misunderstandings, personality conflicts, and bad attitudes to close a door, leading to a different door, which was the right door all along? Why not just divert us from the first door to begin with? Why not move us away from the wrong door earlier in the process? Why not convince us that it was the wrong door without us having to slam the door shut due to our own sinful attitudes and choices?

Why does God sometimes use a conflict over the color of carpet in a church building to split a church, creating a new growing and thriving church in a different area, instead of simply motivating some people in the church to go plant a new church?

Why did God allow Paul and Barnabas to split, apparently in anger, over a disagreement, instead of simply causing them to recognize that their outreach could be multiplied if they went separate directions (Acts 15:36-41)?

Why does God answer with “wait” to a continual prayer request over 20+ years of time and then grant the prayer request once the person isn’t even 100% certain he/she wants it anymore?

Why does God seem to provide a great solution to a difficult situation, with everyone agreeing that it is the perfect solution, only to later unravel the solution to everyone’s dismay?

Why does God sometimes work in mysterious ways?

As I said earlier, the answer, ultimately, is “I don’t know.” Learning to trust God when you don’t understand why He allowed something or why He chose a particular means to accomplish something is a key spiritual growth issue in the Christian life. Are you, like Job, able to praise the Lord whether He gives or takes away (Job 1:21)?

“Hindsight is 20/20” is not a biblical saying, but it is very true. There are many things God has done that I used to wonder about, that I now understand, or at least think I understand. There are numerous other things, though, that I definitely still do not understand and cannot imagine how the mysterious way in which God worked was the best way.

Yes, of course, God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Yes, absolutely, God uses the mysterious things that happen in our lives to mold us into the image of Christ and transform/renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2). But I still wonder why, when it was within His power to do so, God didn’t accomplish the same thing without using a plan that resulted in physical, emotional, and spiritual scars that won’t be fully healed this side of eternity.

Whether I ever receive the answers, whether such things ever make sense to me, I will continue to trust God and His Word. Why? If you think God’s ways are mysterious, just imagine what things would be like if I was in charge!

S. Michael Houdmann

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Why does God sometimes work in mysterious ways?