The Monthly Encourager:
Christ-Centered Encouragement for Wounded Hearts

Guinea and Friends

When We Don't Understand
May, 2006

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about God and guineas. My flock of sixteen guineas has now dwindled down to merely two: a white female and a gray male. It would be easy to protect them if they would just roost in the hen house, especially since I close all the doors at night. In fact, they used to sleep in there with the chickens. Now, they roost on top of the hen house. This is terrible. It is like serving guinea-on-a-plate to owls and hawks. Yet, even though I want to protect them, it would be very difficult for me to grab them and put them in the hen house. If I could catch them, they would squawk and claw as if I were trying to kill them. I cannot make them understand, and I really do not have the power to do what is best for them.

Then I think about God. Sometimes God puts me in circumstances where I want to cry out and protest, just like a guinea would. I am tempted to do this, because I do not understand what God is doing. Difficulties come for reasons I am unable to comprehend. Nevertheless, God has the power to do what is best, and He does what is best, even through bringing difficulties and even over my objections.

Then my thoughts return to the guineas. They simply do not understand the things I want to do for them. Even if I could communicate with them, they still probably would not understand. This is because there is a great distance between a guinea's wisdom and my wisdom. But what about the distance between my wisdom and God's wisdom? Surely there is an even greater distance there. Yes, God has communicated with us through His word and through His Son, but He certainly has not told us everything. As humans, we simply do not know all we need to know in order to understand why God allows so much suffering in this world. For my goal would be to eliminate as much suffering as possible.

This is especially where my goal differs from God's goals, and this is where the guinea analogy fails. My goal for the guineas is to keep them physically safe, comfortable, and well fed. Sometimes I wish that was God's goal for me. Instead, God's primary goal for me is to make me more like his Son, see Romans 8:29. In order to do that, He sometimes breaks my heart, even as He broke it when he took my son home to heaven.

Sometimes I find it very difficult to want the same things that God wants. I wish I could want personal holiness as much as I want peace, safety, and comfort. Perhaps as God keeps working in my heart, he will change my wants as well. Meanwhile, I will rejoice that God is continuing to work in my heart, even when I squawk like a guinea. By God's grace, I hope that when I quit fussing and calm down, I will resolve to continue to give God the unconditional trust He deserves.

While it is a given that we will often be unable to understand what God is doing, the danger comes when our faith in God depends on our ability to understand God. This month's selection of articles is designed to encourage us to trust God unconditionally.