Thursday, January 14, 2010
UNEXPLAINABLE… APART FROM GOD
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor 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.”
Excerpt adapted from Unexplainable by Don Cousins
©2009 Cook Communications Ministries. Unexplainable by Don Cousins. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.
God is beyond us—able to think and act in ways that defy human logic and surpass human understanding. He’s limitless in power and He’s infinite in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
For the sake of relationship, He lowers Himself to our level in many ways. Yet He often chooses to express Himself in ways that are, well, unexplainable—apart from Him. And He does this to point us to Him.
His Ways Point to Him
If who you are, and the unfolding of your life, are seen as something understandable, expected, common, and explainable in human terms, then your life merely points to you. Like Frank Sinatra, you can sing, “I did it my way.” But if the best and perhaps only explanation for your life is God, then you point to Him and your life plays to the lyric, “I did it His way.”
This is the purpose for which you were created. In fact, to be unexplainable apart from God is completely normal for the Christian. This is the way life ought to be. You, and the unfolding of your life, should be unexplainable apart from God.
Perhaps in moments of quiet reflection you’ve wondered, Is this all there is to life? You have a sense within that there must be more to life than you’re experiencing. Though you’re probably busier than you want to be, you can’t figure out why you’re bored. You think there must be more to life than this.
Well, there is!
God is issuing an invitation to each and every one of us to join Him in the realm of the unexplainable. God wants to take your life beyond you. This is the kind of life He created you for, the life He designed you to experience. He wants it to be unexplainable apart from Him, so that you point to Him.
For Superstars Only?
At this point you may be thinking, But the Bible tells the stories of the superstars of the faith, and I’m no superstar. While this is certainly a common perception, a closer look reveals that the vast majority of the Bible’s primary figures were very common and ordinary folk. They were shepherds, like Moses and David, or ranchers like Abraham, or fishermen like Peter, James, and John, or carpenters like Joseph in the New Testament. They were slaves like the Old Testament Joseph and Daniel, or tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus. Some were even prostitutes like Rahab, and social outcasts like Elijah, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist.
These people lived extraordinary lives, becoming the “Superstars” we perceive them to be only as a result of following God’s leading into the realm of the unexplainable. And this is what God desires to do with you as well. Common people become everything but common when God gets involved.
In most cases and on most days, the results of following God’s guidance will not be dramatic. While we tend to focus on Daniel’s dramatic rescue one night in the lion’s den, what’s even far more unexplainable is how Daniel chose earlier to continue “kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Dan. 6:10), despite the king’s edict that made such prayer a capital offense.
While we focus on David’s unexplainable ability with a slingshot, it’s even more unexplainable that for ten years he served faithfully under Saul, a king gone mad who even tried to kill David on numerous occasions. When the tables turned, and David had a chance to kill Saul, he refused to do so—a decision explainable only by God’s influence in David’s life.
Then there’s Joseph, revered as the dreamer who rose from a pit to a palace. While his ascent is clearly unexplainable apart from God, it was Joseph’s ability to forgive his brothers and to care abundantly for them and their families that truly defies the common and begs for explanation.
Following God into the realm of the unexplainable may produce some dramatic moments, like those experienced by Daniel, David, and Joseph. In most cases, however, you’ll find yourself living the unexplainable in the midst of very common circumstances and ordinary days. To embrace life in God, to experience His presence, and to follow His lead will inevitably place you in the realm of the unexplainable. You’ll find yourself feeling, thinking, speaking, acting, and relating in ways leading unquestionably to the conclusion that “God did it.” This is how it should be in every Christian’s life.
The question then becomes, How do I get there?
For this to happen, you’ll need to see and approach life differently. Paul makes this truth abundantly clear when he commands our complete makeover in thought and behavior: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Living in conformity to the world can’t get you into this new realm. You’ll need to undergo a transformation—one that begins with the “renewing of your mind,” and results in conformity to the will of God.
This transformation from explainable to unexplainable is what this book is about. Specifically, I want to encourage and challenge you to make three major shifts in the way you see and approach life. I call them lifeshifts. They’re the sort of thing I believe Paul had in mind when he told us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” These lifeshifts will dramatically alter the way we seek to fulfill three of the deepest longings of the human heart—contentment, success, and significance.
The first lifeshift is from outside-in to inside-out—and it opens the door to experiencing the kind of contentment that is unattainable and unexplainable apart from God.
So, if you’re ready, turn the page … and begin your journey into the realm of the unexplainable.
Unexplainable: Pursuing a Life Only God Can Make Possible by Don Cousins
David C Cook/September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6805-6/softcover/256 pages/$16.99
www.davidccook.com ~ www.doncousins.org