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God Has a Plan Even When Life Does Not Make Sense

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

What do you do when life does not make sense?

There are many things in life we simply do not understand and we accept them. Whether it be the stock market, medical abbreviations, nuclear energy, or your smartphone, most people function quite well in life without understanding how everything works. We trust the details to someone else and focus on what we do know.

That is exactly what we should do when life does not make sense. Trust the details to God and focus on what we do know.

Facing imminent attack by three invading armies, King Jehoshaphat said,

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You (2 Chr. 20:12).

In our last two entries, we have seen that God has a plan that includes us and is better than our plans. Today, we are reminded that God's plan is in effect even when life does not make sense.

Does it bother you someone is more knowledgeable than you? I hope not. We all need people around us who are more astute, wiser, or more experienced than us.

Amy Schneider has already proven she is brainier than most of us. Schneider is the current Jeopardy champion who recently broke the $1 million mark in total winnings. According to the Jeopardy website, "She is now the third longest-running contestant in Jeopardy! history." [1]

I like to watch Jeopardy in hopes of learning. If I average a half-dozen correct answers, I think I'm doing good!

Most would admit that there have always been more intelligent people than us and there always will be. We should have learned this as children. Our parents taught us everything we knew.

If you have children, you know how inquisitive they can be. Just how many times can a child ask, "Why?"!

Children normally ask, "Why?" so they can learn. As long as my kids were respectful, they could say anything to me and ask me any questions. No doubt, the Father welcomes the prayers and questions of His children.

We could trust our parents even when we couldn't know or understand what was happening. Do you remember those childhood trips to the doctor? Oh, I cried and complained when I was getting a shot. I was angry at the doctor, the nurse, and my mom!

Hopefully, we began learning during our youngest years that many things we do not understand and do not like are beneficial. Yet I must admit that even today, I don't understand or like a lot of things. Not knowing or understanding when life does not make sense can be frustrating. It is precisely at these times we must choose to trust our heavenly Father to do what is ultimately for our good.

In our last article, we were glad to know that for those God calls who love Him, everything is going to work out for good (Ro. 8:28). After exploring this great guarantee of God, I wrote:

To be clear, not everything in life will be good

But you know that.

Life is full of mystery, even for the most God-fearing, Christ-follower (Eccl. 11:5). I should say, especially for the most God-fearing, Christ-follower (Ro. 11:33-34).

Believers are living between two worlds. Even though one has beauty, love, and countless wonders, every person will experience grief, pain, heartache, disappointment, and death (Job 5:7. Since sin entered the world, it, and all who have ever lived in it (except One), are fallen, finite, and facing death (Heb. 9:27; Ro. 6:23). No wonder the whole creation groans and we do too (Ro. 8:22-23)!

What a difference the next world is for believers! Every tear will be wiped away (Rev. 21:3-4). There will be no more death and dying. Christ-followers will live forever in the presence of the One Who died for us. We will worship and serve the Lord forever and the wonders of the grace and glory of God will never cease.

Death is a natural occurrence and because of the curse of sin, all mankind will experience it. Those of us who have placed our faith in Christ know God never meant for it to be this way. But sin, like a horrific hereditary abnormality, has spread to every person related by blood to Adam (Ro. 5:12).

Perhaps because we know better awaits us, this world and its disappointments can be especially frustrating. There are some things we can accept more readily than others. Other things we experience in life defy explanation. We may never know the reason for all of the suffering and grief.

Even though God's people know He is holy, loving, good, and ultimately everything will work out for the best, we hurt and wonder, "Why?"

The Lord Jesus followed the Father's plan and fulfilled every prophecy about His life.[2] Being the sinless Son of God, He trusted His Father, yet He, Himself, was a man of sorrow and grief (Is. 53:3). He prayed,

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Lk. 22:42).

As God, the Son, He willingly submitted Himself to the Father while on earth. He needed no convincing to die for us. He and the Father are One. Because of Jesus' love for the Father, He loves us and was obedient even unto death.

He knew, despite the pain and shame He would experience, His Father was in control, even when life does not make sense.

There are numerous examples of people in Scripture and throughout history who did not even begin to understand what God was doing, yet they trusted Him. Despite the apparent impending disaster, defeat, or even death, many chose to follow Him regardless of the consequences.

Babylon had captured Jerusalem and taken many people from their homes. The king commanded everyone to worship an idol and threatened them with death if they did not. Three young men would not even think of such a thing. Even though the captivity and the command were not fair and nothing made sense, they told the king,

“Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up" (Dan. 3:16-18 MSG).

Some wonderful people are suffering in countless ways. They may be hungry, poor, or fighting a disease. The ignorant may boast and dare to say these things are not happening to them because they are closer to God. Shame on anyone who would dare to judge what only God knows: another person's heart.

The disciples encountered a man born blind and they thought his blindness was due to his or his parent's sin. Jesus set the record straight.

Neither did this man sin, or his parents that he was born blind, but that the works of God be made manifest in His life.

So, you don't understand why things happen the way they do?

You don't know why God would permit suffering?

Join the club.

Professional baseball player John Olerud's daughter had a rare genetic disease. During one of her medical treatments, the Boston Red Sox first baseman and former NY Met, held his infant daughter while doctors attempted to insert an IV.

Olerud described the look in her eyes this way: What's going on? I thought you were my dad, protecting me, and you're holding me down and allowing them to poke me? How can you say you love me and let somebody do this?

Knowing that even if he could tell her why all this was happening, she wouldn't understand, Olerud could only say, "You've just got to trust me."

Olerud saw an important faith lesson in that experience.

"Sometimes with our suffering, you look to God and say, 'God, this does not make any sense. I'm getting hammered here, and you could change it.' I'm sure he's looking at us saying, 'I can't tell you why I'm doing this. It is in your best interest. You just have to trust me.'" [3]

John and his wife, Kelly, trusted God and did their best to help their daughter, Jordan. In March of 2020, at 19, Jordan passed away. Even though it does not make sense to us now, we trust our Heavenly Father even as John asked precious Jordan to trust him. We trust God will comfort the Olerud family and they will see Jordan again.

The Oleruds founded "The Jordan Fund" in 2003. "The fund’s mission is to provide support to special needs children and their families." On the home page of their site, Jordan Fund, they have these verses:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Through their troubles, the Oleruds chose to share the compassion God has shown them in order to help others.[4] Even though life sometimes does not make sense, God can use our troubles to help others.

Everyone, even the greatest Jeopardy champion will ultimately bow the knee and admit there is Someone Who knows infinitely more than us.

We need not be in denial. It is not a lack of faith to admit we are hurting. But even though we hurt, and life does not make sense, we can choose to remember Who He is and what He has promised. Then we can say along with Habakkuk:

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he enables me to go on the heights (Hab. 3:17-19).

Are you crying? Is your heart aching? Are you facing news that is too difficult to comprehend? Are you struggling alone through your valley?

I do not dare to infer that I have all the answers. We may never know God's reasons for what He does or allows. But I do believe our suffering is an opportunity to glorify God in a way we cannot when all is well.

I believe:

  • Even in our pain and with tears in our eyes, we can choose to declare He is our Lord and that we love Him

  • We can believe our Father loves us and has a plan even though nothing makes sense

  • We can do what we will never be able to do in heaven: worship the Lord while suffering

  • We can declare to the world and even the devil himself, that what we are experiencing does not change what Christ has done for us and will do for us

  • Like children, we can cry out to our Father, "I don't understand! Please help me!" And know we are loved, and He will bring good from our pain

I hate suffering of any kind; especially if it is my wife, children, or grandchildren who are suffering. But, one day, we will look back at our suffering as though it were a faint memory. May God help us to use our pain as a platform upon which we may display our faith to the glory of God.

When people see that we still love the Lord and worship Him while we are suffering, they very well may say,

That doesn't make sense!

They would be right. We choose to love and glorify God, not just because of how we feel and how well life is going, but sometimes despite how we feel and how painful life may be.

Even though it doesn't make sense, God knows our pain and promises to be with us through even the "valley of the shadow of death" if we trust Him (Ps. 23 [v. 4]).

Often, life does not make sense. But neither does the love of God for sinners like us.

Often, life does not make sense. But neither does the love of God for sinners like us.

When life does not make sense, we must trust the details to God and focus on what we do know: He is God, is in control, has a plan, and loves us. We may not know what to do, but like the ancient king, we can say, "Our eyes are on You!"

May God give us the grace to trust Him and praise Him even when life does not make sense.

By faith,

[2] Nijay K. Gupta, "Christology," ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

[3] Adam Kilgore, "Growing Family - Olerud's Faith Helps Them Cope With Daughter's Illness."The Boston Globe, June 24, 2005, D1, D6.

[4] For more information on The Jordan Fund, please visit their website: or call them at (425) 829-1121.

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