When I was in elementary school, my Uncle made a trip to visit us every spring. He came partly to see us and partly to watch the NJCAA regional tournament which was held in the colosseum in our town in Kansas. From time to time I would join him to watch the games. Most of what happened on the court didn’t make sense to me. I would watch as the officials blew their whistles but couldn’t understand what had happened. Over the years, I got a better understanding of the game, but it wasn’t until my sons started playing basketball that I got a grasp on the rules. And once I understood the rules what happened on the court started to make sense. It wasn’t arbitrary after all! It just seemed that way when I didn’t understand the game.
This world and our lives can seem arbitrary at times. We look at the way the world works and expect it to be different. Other times, we’re at a complete loss to understand what is happening. But the more we study God’s word, getting to know him and the laws on which he founded this world, the more we see that the world isn’t arbitrary at all. It works the way that God made it to. But even if we know God and his word well, a couple of things keep us from understanding the world fully. One hindrance comes from the fact that sin broke the good world God created. Our willful choice to sin keeps the world from working according to God’s perfect will. One other block to understanding the world is that we are part of the creation. Because we are creatures and not the Creator, we can never fully understand everything that happens in this world. But there’s good news: what we do know, what we see that isn’t broken by sin, provides us the assurance that God’s intent and his purposes are good. Even when we don’t understand, even when the world seems arbitrary, we have confidence that God is good, he is in control, and we can trust his good plans for us and this world.