My wife and I recently had the chance to tour a home in Florence, Alabama Rosenbaum House Living room designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939. The Rosenbaum family who commissioned him to design it had four boys who all slept in the same bedroom on two sets of wooden bunk beds built into one wall as part of Wright’s master plan. In 1999 the family donated the house to the City of Florence and it was fully restored. During our tour, the guide pointed out a heavy steel bar which held up the built-in bunk beds. It definitely appeared far larger than necessary to hold up a couple of wooden bunk beds. Well, during the restoration, the experts in charge also decided that the bar was a foolish design decision by Wright and told the workers to take it out. As soon as they disconnected the metal bar, the carport on the other side of the wall came crashing down. None of the experts thought to look in the attic first. When they did, they found that the cantilevered carport was held up by a very heavy steel I-beam. The metal bar didn’t just hold up the bunk beds, it went up through the ceiling and held down the other end of the I-beam, sort of like holding down the other end of a seesaw with André the Giant on the other end. It turns out Wright was right, and knew exactly what he was doing after all. Now who looked foolish!
In a similar way, the universe has a master architect. He knows exactly what He’s doing even if it doesn’t make sense to us and we think He made some foolish design decisions. God knows how things are connected even if we don’t. There are things in the attic of God’s plan that we can’t see. What might appear foolish from our vantage point below the ceiling is always far wiser than we can realize or imagine.
The same way Frank Lloyd Wright’s design appeared foolish to the experts, God’s teachings in the Bible often appear foolish in the eyes of worldly wisdom. But ultimately, God’s plan will prevail. “This ‘foolish’ plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25 NLT)
Believers don’t just trust in God. We trust God. We trust that He knows what He’s doing. We trust that when something doesn’t make sense, or when we are going through a tough time that we can’t understand, He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s still in control and won’t allow us to be tested or tempted beyond what we’re able to endure. And when we are tested, it makes us stronger and brings us closer to Him, so it has a worthwhile outcome.
Trusting God means trusting that nothing slips by Him. Trusting God means accepting trials as His way of shaping us into the people He wants us to be. It means not getting bitter or angry towards God even when we don’t like things happening in our lives that are beyond our control. Trusting God means never believing God bungled, miscalculated, blundered, dropped the ball, fell asleep, goofed up, fouled up, messed up, or was caught by surprise. “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)
The 915 verses in the book of Proverbs all stress the importance of gaining understanding, wisdom, and knowledge. But there’s one verse that is sort of a disclaimer to the other 914: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
Yes, we need to gain understanding, accumulate wisdom, and acquire knowledge. But always remember that our understanding is limited – God’s is not. No matter how smart we get, God will always be infinitely smarter. So we can trust Him to know what he’s doing. Someday, in this life or the next, everything will become clear. But for now, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
God’s Word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Remember, it’s a lamp – not a spotlight that allows us to see miles down the road. God often gives us just enough light for our foot to take the next step. Then once we take that step, He gives us enough light to take the next step. And so on.
God loves us enough to die for us. And if we love God, we need to trust Him.
In his book Miracles, Eric Metaxas brings a great perspective to trusting God when going through tough times: “Can it be that God allows us to go through things specifically so that we have an opportunity to trust him and then to see him do something we wouldn’t have expected, something beautiful and extraordinary that wouldn’t have been possible if we had had our prayers answered when and how we wanted them to be answered? If this is true, wouldn’t it follow that any difficulty we encounter is an opportunity to trust God, to see how he might bring something glorious out of our trial? Wouldn’t it also follow that if we did not look to God in our difficulty we should be missing the opportunity to see him do something more wonderful than merely taking away the difficulty? Or perhaps it tells us that if we really know who God is, we will want to trust him, and we will allow him to bring us into difficulties or suffering, knowing that if we let him, he will use these things to bless us and to do something beautiful that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”
When we love God, obey God, and trust God, it helps us be thankful for what we go through, because we know it will work together for good.
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Psalm 84:11,12)
There was an episode of “The Simpsons” where a devastating tornado ripped through the town of Springfield. People whose homes were destroyed took refuge inside Reverend Lovejoy’s First Church of Springfield. The sign in front of the church carried a message rich in theology, irony, and humor. It simply read: “God Welcomes His Victims.”
But tragedies in real life are not so easy to chuckle at. A friend named Mike Owens describes a similar event but without the humor. On May 9, 2006 a real tornado hit his home in Texas. His fourteen-year-old son Colson was killed. This was a theological turning point in Mike’s life, and over the next few years he agonized over the issue of the sovereignty of God. He says the greatest and most important change in his life, other than his conversion to Christ, was coming to grips with the full implication of God’s total sovereignty over every molecule in all of creation. He said, “One of the things I learned was that God doesn’t allow tornadoes. He plans them. In fact, He controls them better than a surgeon with a scalpel…. The fact is, God did kill my son that night. Without exception, He kills everyone. Everyone’s birth and death line up with His sovereign plan. To deny this fact is to camouflage or disguise the truth…. Believe me, it was difficult the first time I admitted with my own lips that God had killed my son. However, I discovered that doing so enabled me to give God the glory for anything – and everything – that happens. When we finally admit that He is sovereign over every molecule and event, good or bad, then we can relax and not worry. More importantly we can recognize that He is worthy of our adoration and worship.”
We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. And we know He loves us.