Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

When You Don’t Understand God

From Joseph: This is a guest post by Ngina Otiende of IntentionalToday. You will find more about her at the end of the post. 

Years ago, in my early days of leading a small home group, God sent me a prophet.

I didn’t want this!

We were in the middle of a prayer meeting at a member’s home when this man announced he had a word from God – for me. I wasn’t too keen but as ‘good leader’, I lend my ears.

“Just as He changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, so He is changing your name today. You will be a mother to many daughters” (summarized version)

If I was unsure about the vessel before, I was triple sure about the message. I did not want to be anyone’s ‘mother’! Like Sarai, I laughed in doubt. Only worse, I was proud and judgemental.

Sometimes we assume that when God speaks to us, our hearts will always leap in agreement. Not always the case.

What to do when you don’t understand God

So what can we do when God says something we don’t understand, or even like?

1. Don’t kill the prophet

I was too aware of the vessel – a ‘dusty’ prophet with an even dustier word. Sometimes we get caught up with our visible realities, so much that we loose sight of the eternal word. Of course it’s wise (and expected) to clarify new directions or impressions that we believe are from God.

But don’t judge the apparatus that God decides to use.

I have discovered that God loves confounding the wise. He won’t use the beaten path because His goal is not just to deliver a word but to reveal and surface our inner attitudes. He grows us in every possible angle.

2. Trust 

I speak from hindsight. God decided that I would mentor many women. It was His responsibility to bring that word to pass. He needed my availability, not ability.

Sarah couldn’t make herself pregnant. I couldn’t make myself a mother (mentor) either.

All God required was a ‘yes’ and He would do the rest.

All things become possible when we look at His word from His perspective. On the other hand when we look at what we can do, everything snaps shut.

3. It’s not bullet train

I forgot His word for years and only recently did I begin to think about it. I marvel at what God can do, when we give Him the chance. He changed my laughing, doubtful heart.  He blessed my life with many spiritual daughters. And we’ve not even scratched the surface. We don’t need to ‘help’ God fulfil His word. Again, it’s His word, His timing. He is able to accomplish much when we don’t faint.

Question – How else can we respond when God says something we don’t understand?

About Ngina

Ngina Otiende is a writer, avid reader and dreamer currently rebuilding a consulting business after moving 8,000 miles across the globe. She loves green tea, laughter and helping others take charge of their lives. She is married to her hero and they live in Maryland, USA. You can check out her blog Intentional Today and follow her on twitter . 

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

18 Replies

  1. It is hard though. Especially when you’re pushed into a corner and all is God to lean on. But He is faithful and does give us the grace to trust Him when we don’t understand Him.

    Great post Ngina!

    1. Looked down at the comments and realized I replied a year ago lol. Well it’s still a good post.

      1. I couldn’t help the giggle. Thanks all the same, @MikeHolmes:disqus. @nginaotiende:disqus wrote a beautiful piece.

  2. Haha, I love the don’t kill the prophet point! Especially since I’m sometimes in the prophet role myself – although maybe a little more on the subtle side than your prophet.

    How do I respond when God says something I don’t understand? For me it’s usually more that I understand it but don’t want to do it! I say, no God, surely you don’t want me to talk about that. Or surely you don’t want me to say that in front of all those people who might condemn me. Or I’m willing to talk about that, God, but could you just come down and tell me in a physical, impossible to recognize, voice? Because I’m not really SURE you want me to talk about that.

    What often happens is I see someone else talking about it before I ever get around to it which gives me courage to add my two cents.

    1. Haha Barb you are so funny! And I hear you! I too walk in your shoes sometimes and totally relate. You get into this conversation with God in your head/heart, sometimes manage to persuade yourself that you just imagining things…and just then someone else steps out and obeys 🙂 Oh the feeling… But true, their obedience can help with the courage 🙂

      I am just glad we serve a great God, one who doesn’t tire and always seeks to build us up.

      Thank you for dropping in and sharing

  3. Wow, great post Ngina – really timely message for me. That God calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light goes to show that He wants to use us in great ways.

    Many times the task seems impossible as @MikeHolmes:disqus rightly puts it. As you said, all we have to do is say yes and be available. He promises to give us the ability.

    Really uplifted by this word. God bless you and Joseph for the platform.

    1. Awesome stuff God can do with our experiences. Ngina shared so gracefully. Much appreciated.

    2. Thank you Jep and glory to God. So glad the post was a blessing.

  4. God can be so weird at times! Why? Simple:
    1. He’s give you an “impossible” Word
    2. To be accomplished at an “impossible” time
    3. In an “impossible” way

    The one that gets me the most is the #3. My thing is: if not going to happen yet why tell me. I guess this is me speaking from experience…and yes there’s a tinge of anger I’ll admit it. But it does get me that He would show me something so vivid and then have me wait decades to accomplish it.

    But maybe He just wants me to aim towards something. Maybe He’s just a lot smarter than I am:)

    Great post Ngina!

    1. Haha, I love your openness, Michael.

    2. Love that conclusion nailed it “He’s just alot smarter than I am!”. 🙂

      I find that He’s always interested in the process (the person I become), not just the goal/word.

      But he faithful to keep that long as I don’t faint 🙂
      Thanks so much for sharing you heart.

  5. So honored to share with your readers today Joseph. Thank you for having me.

    1. The pleasure is mine. Thanks for being awesome and holding on to the faith.

  6. It’s a pleasure you host you today, Ngina,

    I believe trust is absolutely crucial. There are times the ‘darkness’ may not lift and we have no clue what God is saying. We came to Him by faith and times like this require faith to say “God, I don’t get it but You know best”

    I’ve often said that the Christian faith is a battle of trust and hope in God. But His grace is sufficient.

    1. Amen and Amen. We live by faith and not by sight. Our faith in Him is manifested at such times.

    2. Amen Joseph!

      His grace is what calls me to keep pushing on

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