“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For 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
This scripture passage is often quoted but rarely understood. It is usually spoken to someone who is battling an illness, suffering with a loss or going through difficult times. When used this way it carries with it the suggestion that the suffering is from God, so we just have to endure it because God knows what He is doing.
God does know what He is doing, however, His intention is not that you suffer and simply endure it. While we may experience suffering for a period of time, God wants us to stay connected to Him and trust Him to lead us through the pain and difficulty, coming out on the other side stronger, with an abiding faith that knows that God is good.
Jesus said that whatever comes to kill, steal or destroy is from the “thief” (Satan) but He (Jesus) came so that we can have abundant life. God will supply you with everything you need in whatever situation you find yourself in.
So, back to the higher ways of God versus our ways…
Jesus was sent to proclaim the kingdom of God (see Luke 4:43). It functions differently than man’s kingdoms and institutions. As God’s Son and chief representative, Jesus came to show us the way we are to operate, as well as how we are to interact with God and with other people.
Our ways tend toward anger and revenge. Or perhaps fear and anxiety. We want to be nice to who we want to be nice to and we want to do things our way, in our own wisdom and strength. We want to boast and brag and make ourselves look good, and we definitely want other people to know when someone has done us wrong. This is a short list of “our ways”.
Now for some examples of God’s ways. In regards to anger and revenge:
“And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” Romans 12:17
If you are experiencing fear and anxiety, listen to what the Lord says:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.…” Matthew 6:31-33
Most of us have heard how we are to treat others, but how many of us actually do what the Lord says?
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36
His way of doing things is higher (wiser, superior, better) than the way we would naturally choose to do them. They are founded on love, in mercy and in His wisdom, not in the wisdom of man. The only way we can hope to accomplish any of this is in His strength and ability, not our own. And by choosing to do things God’s way, other people will see His goodness flowing through us and hopefully want everything His kingdom offers:
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you… ~ Isaiah 55:1-3
God bless you today as you live out your life through Him.