As the world plunges into a pandemic, I find I need to remind myself to trust God, even when His purpose may not be evident to me. I must have faith. What does faith look like when the world is crumbling and my daily life is upended? I appreciate how Oswald Chambers put it:
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”
The thought of not understanding what God is doing reminds me of a story a programmer shared with me the other day. It was a story that made me laugh, then pause to think deeply.
In his work as a programmer, this man builds and maintains various websites. Recently, while he was going about his typical workday, he noticed an error message come in from one of the websites he had built. When he investigated the error message, he discovered that a lady was actively trying to log into the site, but had run into a problem. It didn’t take the programmer long to see what the problem was and that it wasn’t her fault. He knew exactly what to do and began working on the code to fix what was wrong.
Meanwhile, the lady attempted to log in a second time. She triggered the same error again.
It took the programmer a couple of minutes to complete the fix. He wasn’t sure if the lady would give up trying to log in, but now that the problem was fixed behind the scenes, he sat back to watch. Realizing something wasn’t working, the lady decided to reset her password. By the time she tried to log in again, it worked!
I chuckled with the programmer at the story. The lady had no idea that there’d been someone actively working to solve the error. She had merely been trying to use a website that wouldn’t let her log in. She presumably thought the act of resetting her password had fixed the error she’d encountered. That’s what I would’ve thought. She had no idea what had been going on behind the scenes, and that her actions, as smart as they were, did not actually solve the problem.
As I thought about this story, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps there are times when I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.
Has there been an invisible programmer actively working on the other side of a website I’ve been using? Have there been problems I thought I fixed, when in fact my actions had nothing to do with the solution? To take the thought a step further, where in my life has God been working behind the scenes that I have been entirely unaware of?
I’m sure there have been many times when God has been at work in my life and I didn’t see it.
This reminds me of Joseph, who went through years of misery, first being sold as a slave and then thrown into prison. Afterwards, when he spoke with his brothers, the very ones who’d sold him as a slave so many years ago, Joseph pointed out God’s hand in all of it.
Joseph said, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. … So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen. 45:5,8a NIV)
I also think of Queen Esther. She went from being a Jewish orphan to marrying the king of Persia. When an edict was issued for the death of all the Jewish people, Mordecai, who had raised Esther, urged her to stand up for her people. He said, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14b CSB)
What about in my life? Can I be confident that God is working behind the scenes in my life as well? Philippians 2:13 assures me that: “it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.” (CSB)
God is at work in my life and in this world. I may not see it or understand it. Perhaps I sometimes feel like He’s forgotten me. Surely Joseph felt forgotten. Still, with God’s help, I can have faith that He will keep His promises.
Therefore, as the world faces a pandemic, and my life is upended because my day job is gone, I will remember the words of Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me…” (ESV)
If God’s purpose for me is to write, then He will help me do so in His timing.
Maybe this season without a job is a special opportunity for me to focus more on writing? Or maybe there is something else God has in mind.
Perhaps 10 years from now I will be able to look back and say, “So that’s what God was doing.” Or perhaps, like the lady trying to log in, I will never understand how He was actively at work all the while. Never, that is, until the day when I am home with Him in heaven.
Regardless, I will trust that God is working behind the scenes in my life.
What are some ways you’ve seen God working behind the scenes in your life?