God of the Consequence
I have a confession to make: I am terrible at making decisions. I mean seriously, you can ask my husband, it’s bad. The problem doesn’t really sit in the “not knowing what I want” category. The real issue is that the more variables there are, the more overwhelmed my mind becomes.
So to give you a practical example, let’s take the toothpaste aisle. Number one, why do we need an entire aisle for toothpaste?! The whole thing is completely overwhelming from the start, and then you have, I don’t know, like fifteen different brands at probably five separate price points all targeting various issues with assorted flavors and tube sizes. That doesn’t even begin to take into account the questions, “Is fluoride really a necessary additive?” and “How important are all-natural ingredients?” I wish I were pulling your leg when I say that sometimes I have legit given up before I even made a decision and left that horrible aisle completely defeated.
But my husband? He goes in that aisle like a boss, grabs a tube, throws it in the cart, and then leaves! It takes like twenty-three seconds tops from beginning to end! That man amazes me! I’ve often asked how he came to his decision so quickly. His answer? “I just picked one.”
He just picks one?! What if he chooses the wrong one? What if we are stuck paying too much for an inferior product? What if something better has been released since the last time we bought toothpaste and now we are missing out on a better toothbrushing experience? What if I’m overthinking the whole thing?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
One of the greatest surprises of my relationship with God was the peace that I received when I stopped trying to figure everything out. If you think the toothpaste aisle is bad you should have seen the mental tizzy I could work myself into making major life decisions! I distinctly remember when the revelation hit me that God was completely aware of the consequences of whatever path He chose. It was like a one-ton weight had been removed from my shoulders. The consequences aren’t mine to figure out as long as I was walking in the will of God.
So when God led us to move to Mifflin County so that my husband could get sober the consequences were on Him. It didn’t make any sense to the natural mind, to move an addict to a place where addiction was rampant, but He knew what He was doing. It wasn’t my job to figure it out, it was my job to be obedient and trust that He was big enough to handle whatever came next.
“Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.”
- Proverbs 16:3 NKJV
Often times after I make a decision, the question of “Was that the right one?” will come flooding my mind and the what-ifs start to take over. But Proverbs 16:3 is a sword that I use to fight off the barrage of questions that begin to swirl. When we are walking in the will of God—when we are living our lives according to Proverbs 3:5-6, then our thoughts on the matter are established. The consequences are up to Him, good or bad, and we can live in peace knowing that He knows what He’s doing.
While I am a huge fan of the New Living Translation, I can’t say I much like the way that they translated Proverbs 16:3 (at least on the surface). Their translation states, “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” There is this idea that if we fail then we mustn’t have been walking in God’s will for our life. That somehow failure is a sign of divine disapproval. I know I’ve fallen for this lie often. Today let’s take the head off of that sucker.
What about Paul?
I could go on and on about the lists of calamities that Paul faced but I’m not going to take the time to do that here. You can read an overview for yourself in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33. My question is this: When Paul was imprisoned or whipped, when he was shivering in the cold or going hungry, was that a sign of God’s divine judgment—a consequence of Paul stepping outside of God’s will for his life—or was He working in Paul an eternal weight of glory?
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen [are] temporary, but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV
So this is where I do agree with the NLT translation of Proverbs 16:3 stating that your plans succeed. Even when it doesn’t look like it to our earthly logic—even when everything seems to be going wrong—as long as we are walking in the will of God, the hardship is a success because it is working in us an eternal glory.
So beloved my point today is simple. Don’t try to figure it all out, just be obedient and allow God to work out the rest. He is still God over the consequences. The question comes down to this: Do you trust Him? Do you trust His plan for your life, even if it means failures and hardships and calamity? We were never promised easy but we were promised the best, even if it doesn’t look like it in the here and now. Keep your eyes set on the eternal prize beloved, trust in His ways, His timing, His path and let the rest up to Him and allow Him to be God over the consequences.
Written by Amanda Strauser