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Sometimeyojust can't never know.  Acts 8

Good Day.
How can you be so good to someone you love and then get kicked in the teeth?  I mean, you give and give of yourself, and when a little gratitude would naturally be in order, he gets out of your car, tosses an expletive over his shoulder, and moves on down the road... literally.  Things just do not always go as we hope or even as they should.  Sometimes you just can't never know, because people will let us down.
In the middle of it a difficult time, I thought, 'there is something good in this sandstorm, some pearl to draw from its midst, I'm sure of it.  Now what is it?  What might I take?' To start-things can always be worse.  Just to be 'in' the experience means I am drawing breath, I am part of the human equation.1 But there is more--that is not enough. Truth is, sometimes you just can't never know.
Made me think of the verses I memorized a long time ago, "Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete."2
  What, be happy in the middle of times that 'try men's souls'?3That is not rational in any way.  Yet that's what God says here in James. 
In the midst of difficult times or sorrows, God is there . . .
and if we are praying, God is at work.
And then Paul makes this absurd statement:
'God works all things together for good for those who love him.'4
God's truths, God's ways are just likely to be different than ours.  Sometimes you just can't never know.
And speaking of God's ways, we must not lose sight of the ways he leads us,
and the paths he guides us to take.  
Sometimes they do not seem logical ... to us.
Open your Bible and take a look at Acts 8 - in the first part of the chapter, persecution is intensifying for the Jewish Christians, following Stephen's stoning, and all are scattering from Jerusalem.  Philip-[note: not one of the apostles]--goes to nearby Samaria, and God opts to do the miraculous through him, as he powerfully teaches about Jesus the Messiah, and heals many people, radically changing lives - and there was great joy!5  Again, it was as Jesus said, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."6
We must not lose sight of the ways he leads us,
and the paths he guides us to take.  
Sometimes they do not seem logical ... to us.
So getting back to Philip, who is being hugely influential in Samaria - look at verse 26: "Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road-the desert road-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."  Wait, what?  God, what are you doing?  Philip is doing great things for you, spreading your word, spreading your love, spreading joy . . . and you want to pull him away from Samaria?  Wait, why? 
Sometimes you just can't never know.
Says the Lord, "This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours."7
Sometimes you just can't never know.
Yes, you can-that's the point of the turn of a word in this double-negative statement: Sometimes you just can't never know.
With God, you can always know that he is God,
he is good, he has a plan . . .  just trust him.

1 -

2 - James 1.2-4, The Living Bible
3 - Thomas Paine, "The Crisis"
4 - Romans 8.28
5 - Acts 8.8
6 - Acts 1.8
7 - Isaiah 55.8-9, The Living Bible

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