We recently buried a friend, a young man in his early thirties with a young family – a wife and two children. The firstborn will join primary school next year. The wife, barely in her 30s, is now a widow. How?

The question that repeatedly bothered me from the time I heard the news of my friend’s death was: “How? How could God allow such a young man to die when everyone thought his life was just beginning? How could he let such young children grow without their father? And how could a good and loving God allow death to snatch a husband from a young woman whose dreams about a beautiful future with her husband were just taking shape?

I must confess that instances like these almost always take me back to the question of the existence of a loving and all-powerful, an all-knowing God. But when I went to condole the widow, I found myself telling her: “God has a good reason even when bad things happen.” I also told her: “God will use your loss to lead you into greater and better things gain.” I confess I did not understand my own words; they sounded unreal, yet so true given that I have faith in God who cannot bring this widow this far only to destroy her.

In my father’s house there is a postcard that was sent to dad by a friend during one of his most trying moments. It has these words: “God permits evil in order to transform it into greater good.” Every time any of his children call or go to see him over a teething issue, he always points to that card, which hangs in the living room.

The point is; God’s ways are not our ways. What we call “bad news” is not necessarily such in God’s eyes. Like the death of a young man, woman or child may not be bad news to God. We do not, and we will never understand God’s ways. That is the mystery that separates man from God. For to understand the ways of God would require us to be omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient – and that would mean we are also God. We are not and we shall never be.

Brethren, so many bad things happen to us. We lose a job we so much depended on; we do not get shortlisted for a job we wanted so badly; we are conned into purchasing grabbed land or a stolen motor vehicle; we get involved in fatal accidents or suffer terminal ailments. Our loved ones fall ill and sometimes die. We all have an idea of how we would want things to be. I need that job; I can’t afford to fall ill now; I desperately need that particular piece of land. And so we pray to God asking him to do what He should to give us these things.  We pray not that “Your will” be done, but that “my will” be done.

US televangelist Joel Osteen warns us that “just because it is logical doesn’t mean it is God’s way.” He says again “if you are narrow minded you can miss God’s best.” His advice is that we should take God out of our box. God is unconventional; he does not do things according to human or worldly logic. His logic is not our logic. But, and this is the most important thing to note, He always acts for our own good. For “His plans are for good not evil.”

No matter what we are going through, no matter the temptations before you and the turbulence in your life, go on your knees and surrender to God’s will. Tell God that the road ahead is difficult, and that you won’t spend any more time thinking about how things ought to be but instead wait upon Him to deliver you to the Promised Land.

I mean, this is the same God who used a prostitute, Rahab, to save the people of God; the same one who used a donkey to talk to a prophet; the same God who put Jonah in a fish to transport him to Nineveh; He made a virgin give birth and resurrected Lazarus from Death. He is God. He can do whatever He wants to do and how he wants to do it.

God’s plans for us are always good but they may be different from ours. God is the potter and we are the clay. We should let God do unto us and for us according to His will. He will not let you down. He has not brought you this far to destroy you. Just trust in Him and do not even try to understand how He will do it for you. Like the blind man Jesus healed, be ready to exclaim when your miracle comes: “I don’t know how he did it; all I know is that I was blind and now I see.” (John 9:25)

By Christopher Maina

Published in October 2013