But I thought... sometimes what we thought is not what he sees

When Overthinking Reminds Us That God Sees Everything

I was reading in 2 Kings 5, the story of Naaman, and found a reminder of how God sees everything.

I was reading slowly while drinking my morning coffee.

French press. Hot and dark… the last of my Kenyan coffee beans.

The palm trees were blowing outside in the hot wind of an early West African morning. The sound reminds me of rain enough that I casually glanced out the window to see if rain drops were really falling…

Nope, no rain today. It is just the wind in the palm trees. Rain drops won’t fall for another 2-3 months.

God Sees Everything and Sometimes It is Different Than I Thought

But while my coffee cooled and the sun rose over the wall in our yard, I continued reading. In my reading, I saw a phrase.

A phrase I often use. I often use it because I’m a thinker. a planner. a scheduler.

I think things through so that I’ve covered all the bases ahead of time. This is a wonderful quality.

Most of the time.

Sometimes, this quality gets me into trouble because I think too much. Every base is covered in my mind 10 times over. And maybe once more for good measure.

Sometimes, I really get thinking and think I have things all worked out.

Yep. Me. I have it thought through and I know exactly how things are going to work together, pan out and be wonderful.

In my mind, I’ve wrapped up the latest events, woven them through the coming month and set a course for a very organized calendar. I might have even said a prayer or two.

Then, the event comes or the days pass and things begin taking a different turn. Things don’t happen like I thought or wanted or planned.

Maybe Jeremy had a totally different way to do it. Surprise.

Maybe my kids needed something different from what I thought. #momshighfive

Maybe plans fell through, someone canceled, events changed… and my well-thought out plans need to go a totally different direction.

Maybe God was doing something.

Something I didn’t see or understand.

Maybe God had a plan different from my own. Maybe he wove the latest events together in a different way than I imagined.

I’ve grown in leaps and bounds in this area over the years. Learning to Let God Engineer the workings of my life and remembering that God sees everything, I’ve come to the end of me and continue to walk the blank space with trust.

But a year into our second term on the mission field, wow… in the mending of me, I’m learning this lesson in deeper, stronger ways.

Patty Stallings, on the Velvet Ashes blog said, “In the breaking, she went from being lovely and admired on the shelf to a masterpiece of artistry moving in empowered beauty. In the breaking, her communing with God released her to be fully loved in her brokenness and conformed to the image of Christ.”

And in the breaking and mending process, I seem to continue to say, “But I thought…”

Yet, when I look closely as God mends, things take shape powerfully. His way is so much bigger than I could ever imagine. When I patiently wait for him to move and work, things get done in ways I couldn’t have orchestrated on my own.

Sometimes the process is simple and small. Other times, the pieces come together in magnificently grand ways.

Even in the grand ways, I often marvel at the simplicity of how God works. How he softly, sweetly, gently breaks us and mold us. How He takes such a painful process and works it for our good, our blessing, our beauty.

“When God calls us to wrestle with him, there’s always more going on than we first understand and God always uses it to transform us for good.” – Jon Bloom, Will You Wrestle With God?

He often uses big, life changing events to begin the process. Moving to Africa, anyone?

Picture Naaman. Verse 1 of 2 Kings 5 says, “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.”

Naaman was a great man yet he had leprosy.

He was the commander of an army, a valiant soldier and he had leprosy.

He was breaking. He was sick. He was in need. He probably was scared, worried, wondering. His mind was probably, as any commander would do, running over the problem again and again trying to figure it out and fix it.

This valiant man had a huge, life altering problem. He needed an answer. So, through a king and a servant {something only God could work out}, Naaman sought out the man of God.

The man of God, Elisha, gave a simple, slightly crazy answer. Elisha told him to go dip in the Jordan 7 times.

How did the valiant commander respond?

The Bible tells us, “But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Not only did Naaman give a “But I thought…” response saying, “Why couldn’t he just come out here and wave his hand and fix it?” {which truly, wouldn’t that have been much better?} Naaman also gives another option, “Seriously? The Jordan?” In his thinking, there were much better rivers to wash in.

To Naaman the whole plan was crazy. It didn’t fit what he thought would happen, should happen or even could happen.

He certainly didn’t travel that far to hear the man of God ask him to wash in a river.

Do you see yourself here? I do.

How many times do we say that phrase?

“But I thought…?”

*insert whatever you thought. insert whatever great plan you cooked up in your late night musings.

When you realize that your well-worked out plans need to go a different direction.

Your beautifully crafted fix-it expectations are ruined.

God is asking something of you that you didn’t think of nor do you understand.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28

What God is asking is humbling. Odd. Maybe crazy.

But when we do it God’s way, when we stop thinking, humble ourselves and truly let God engineer, amazing things happen. We remember that God sees everything and we can simply trust and obey.

Truly amazing ways to live.

For Naaman, the Bible tells us what happens. It says, “So he went down {probably shaking his head and questioning the entire way to the water’s edge} and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times {possibly on that 6th time thinking how insane the whole thing was and feeling quite foolish}, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” 2 Kings 5:14

Naaman did it God’s way and he experienced healing.

I don’t think it was just physical healing. There was a healing of the heart that had to take place in this valiant commander of armies.

And me, the mom in this Goodwin family, often the daily commander of all things

Truly, the thinker and planner and valiant wanna-be… me.

Sometimes, God needs to ask something totally crazy… move to Africa… to get my planning self where He can do that kind of humbling heart work that He needs to do in my life.

God Sees Everything and Sometimes It is Different Than I Thought

Sometimes, God needs to speak and direct in ways I don’t understand to get my attention.

He needs me to move off the schedule, out of my comfort zone, away from normal to where He is working.

He needs me to submit to His process which often feels like the refining fire.

I need to let go of what I think, what I thought, what I planned, and let God lead.

Not sometimes… all of the time. daily.

God sees everything.

Because I’m not that pretty piece of pottery meant to be left on the shelf, as Patty alluded to in her post. God has pulled me off the shelf. He is moving, breaking, changing, working as only He can do to create the masterpiece He intended.

“In the breaking, you commune with God in fresh, fiery ways. God’s ways of love become so life-giving and sustaining they dig deep ruts in you. Your brokenness invites Him into your soul, and you welcome the shaping that transforms you to think and see and love like Him. Then that is what God gives to the world. Him in you. God in you.” Patty Stalling, Velvet Ashes

Do you ever say, “But I thought…?” and need the reminder that God sees everything?

Do you need to remember that God has a plan, a purpose for you that might be different from what you thought?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *