Walking Through Roses. . .Or Not

For some reason, we Christians like to believe that as long as we're walking in God's will, life will be a bed of roses.  I don't know where we get this idea from.  I mean, look at Paul and John the Baptist.  Obviously, our perception of the Christian life is extremely faulty.  Nevertheless, we go about our daily tasks of serving the Lord, all the while expecting that things will go exactly as they should because we're doing the right thing.

Well, I hate to burst that pretty little bubble, but that's just not the case, and I believe, deep down you know that.  If not, take a look at this passage, and then let me know what you think.

And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first. And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until even, and asked counsel of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the Lord said, Go up against him.) And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And the children of Israel enquired of the Lord, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the Lord said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand. - Judges 20:18-28

As far as I can tell, Israel did the right thing.  They sought God's will, His advice, His counsel.  They asked God what they should do, and God said, "Go!"  And the result was a slaughter.  So again, they asked God what they should do, and once again, God said, "Go!"  And the result?  Another slaughter, nearly as great as the first.  What in the world?  They did the right thing.  They asked God.  They followed God's orders, and catastrophe struck as a result.  To our finite minds, something just doesn't add up.  Yes, we see that the third time God orders them to go, the result is a victory, but at what cost?  How many had to die before that victory, and why?

I know I say it often, but I think we need to hear it often:  God's ways are not our ways.  We cannot begin to understand why He does what He does.  That's where faith comes in.  We cannot trust in His reasoning because we don't understand it.  We cannot trust in His explanations because He often doesn't give any.  But we can trust in His heart because we know He loves us with a love that is far greater than anything we could ever comprehend.

So, even when things go wrong when we're doing right, hold on tight to what you know of God.  Trust firmly in Who He is and what He has promised.  Victory is just around the corner.  Just keep trusting and obeying.