I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. – Isaiah 48:17
The Lord will give you understanding in all things. – 2 Timothy 2:7
I am one who really needs to see the big picture in order to navigate myself. Give me a set of directions, step by step, with all the details spelled out, and I may get there, but I am not at my best. Give me the big picture, help me orient myself, tell me where “generally west” is, and I’ll much more easily get there. That’s the way I’m wired. It may have much to do with not being able to process multiple pieces of information well. Give me a picture of what something is supposed to look like and I’ll have a good chance of making it so. And I’ll likely need to come back for some corrections and alterations for which I’ll consult the detailed instructions! But that’s how I roll.
God offers what we need to make our way through life. He tells us that he gives us understanding in all things. And while I’m certain that Paul didn’t have in mind putting together complex children’s toys on Christmas Eve, there is an element of God’s providential goodness and grace that reaches even to that place…if only we look to him and find our peace in him amid any turmoil swirling around us at any given moment.
Surely, however, the ultimate understanding that God provides is of his ways. Solomon commands us not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-8). Although God’s ways are mysterious and beyond finding out (cf. Romans 11:33), there is a basic understanding that comes from God and puts all of the universe into perspective.
To have the benefit of that orientation and understanding of life as it truly is, is truly for our own good. It does no good for God that we understand the essence of all things. But when we comprehend that all things are in him, from him, to him, and for him, and that his fame is centered in his grace to us, we are truly in a good place.
That Jesus Christ would be glorified, his name honored, God’s grace celebrated, and all that is truly good vindicated is our hope through faith in Jesus. That is the understanding that we need and which we ought to seek.