If it hasn’t happened to you yet I can assure you that one day it is coming. Life is going to hit you in such a way that you are going to be convinced that God has made a mistake. For some of you reading this, you may have already experienced moments where you question the things God is doing. Some of you may even be asking those questions right now. So, what do we do with all of this and how do we navigate through these waters? You see, it is one thing when you believe another human has made a mistake, but what do you do when you feel like God has made a mistake. First of all, feeling this way does not make you an unbeliever or a heathen it simply makes you human. For example, according to Jesus, John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born to a woman (Luke 7:28), and even he wondered if he or God had made a mistake. When he was in prison, he sent a message to Jesus asking a question.
"When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'” – Matthew 11:2-3
After devoting his life to being the forerunner for Jesus, in a moment where his life wasn’t going the way he expected, he stopped and wondered if he had made a mistake and by default had God made a mistake. My point is, there is nothing wrong with asking the question because as humans we don’t see as God sees. However, it’s important to note you cannot stay in the place of the question. You must eventually get to this truth and know that God doesn’t make mistakes. I am not saying this flippantly because for some this is a very difficult question, that many people never recover from, which is why this is so critical. You must get to the place of knowing God doesn’t make mistakes. If you never get there, then your faith will ultimately crumble. As we probe deeper into this thought let me share with you three things that can happen to you if you don’t come to the reality that God doesn’t make mistakes.
Here are 3 reasons why is it important to know God doesn’t make mistakes:
1. If you don't believe God doesn't make mistakes, you will argue with God.
"And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.' But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'” – Exodus 3:9-11
For a moment can you picture this scene. God appears to Moses in a burning bush that doesn’t burn. Out of this burning bush God tells Moses I am going to send you to deliver the Israelites from the hand of Pharoah and the Egyptians. Upon experiencing this amazing event Moses’ response to God is you have made a mistake. You have the wrong man for the job. Moses then proceeds to debate back and forth with God over how bad a decision he has made. You could simply say he is arguing with God. When a person believes God has made a mistake that person will debate and argue with God. They may not do it outwardly like Moses, but inwardly they will question what God did and why he did it. As I said before asking the question initially is fine because we are human, but you cannot stay in that place. The reason this place is bad to stay in is because our journey in Christ is one of trust and faith. Part of that trust is knowing and believing that God is in control and everything he is doing is in accordance with his will and his good plan for your life. It doesn’t mean you will always see it or understand it, but it means you must trust it because that trust becomes the foundation for your faith in this life.
2. If you don’t believe God doesn't make mistakes, you will substitute your own plan.
"From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!' Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” – Matthew 16:21-23
Of all the conversations and engagements we have in Scripture between Jesus and Peter, perhaps this one is the most amazing. After Jesus explains what is going to happen, Peter pulls Jesus aside and begins to rebuke him (I can’t even imagine what that looks like). Peter in his zeal begins to tell Jesus what you are doing is wrong and it is not supposed to go this way. He even takes it a step further by saying this will never happen to you. It was almost as if he was saying I am going to do everything I can to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Before you go getting on Peter’s case this is what happens when you don’t have full confidence that God doesn’t make mistakes. You will substitute your own plan. I know this might seem a little crazy but how many times have you wrestled with God over things he has asked you to do because you thought, this simply can’t be God’s plan or what he wants me to do. He must have made a mistake. If we are going to be honest, we probably have done this a lot and may even still do it. Peter’s behavior is not much different than yours or mine. Part of Peter’s problem, which is our problem too, is he could only see in part. His focus was very narrow, thinking only of the moment or as Jesus said merely human concerns. Jesus was thinking of the whole picture, thinking of all time and eternity.
However, just like Peter if you think God is making a mistake by what he is doing or asking you to do, you will be tempted to substitute your own plan. After all don’t you know more than the God who knows everything? (I’m being facetious here) Let me reiterate again, this journey is one of trust and if you don’t trust that God doesn’t make mistakes, you will substitute your way because you think it is better. Just to remind you here is what Proverbs says about people like us who think their way is better.
"There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." – Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)
3. If you don’t believe God doesn't make mistakes, you will become a stumbling block to others.
"Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” – Matthew 16:23
Perhaps the most damaging reality of not believing God doesn’t make mistakes is that you will become a stumbling block to others and potentially destroy their faith. This may not be your intention but every conversation about God and faith will be colored by the belief that what God did was a mistake in your life. You will forever remind yourself and others of the thing that did not go the way you expected causing others to stumble in the process. There are people I know that have experienced loss in their life and their faith has never recovered. They cannot move past that one point in time. This brings us to one of the real struggles in life, recognizing that God’s ways are not our ways. In Peter’s situation, his intentions might have been good, but he was still only dealing with human concerns and not focused on the bigger picture. He was only thinking of the moment and what was best for him at the moment. He could not see beyond. This is often how we try to view God’s plans. This does not always make them easier to accept but we must recognize there is a bigger framework at play. This is what we are reminded of in Isaiah.
“'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.
'As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" – Isaiah 55:8-9
At some point in this journey of life, especially when things don’t go the way you think they should we must remember God’s ways are higher than ours.
The Christian life is about trust.
So how do you fight through this and overcome this potential landmine in your life? The best thing to do is to have the attitude of Job. Remember Job lost everything. His family, his fortune, his health, everything. If anyone had a reason to believe God had made a mistake it was Job. However, after experiencing the worst tragedy of his life here is what his response was.
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." – Job 13:15
This Christian life is all about trust. Trust doesn’t mean everything will go perfectly in this life. It doesn’t even guarantee that this life will be easy. Trust does mean that you will put your hope in a God who sees all, who knows all, and is ultimately working on your behalf to accomplish a will and a plan that you may not always see or understand. We trust that God doesn’t make mistakes because what he does in our lives is fitting into a bigger framework that we may not understand on this side of eternity. This leads us to say that in spite of it all, when none of it makes sense, still I will trust you. This will not always be easy, and you will be tempted to bail along the way. Should that desire come don’t run away from him but run to him for he knows our weaknesses and limitations. I cannot promise you will always find the answers in this life. However, I can promise that in his arms, you will find love, grace, and comfort to endure when things in this life don’t make sense.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/PhotoAlto/EricAudras
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.