“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” — Isaiah 55:8-9
This month, I will share with you weekly devotions based on my book, Generation to Generation: Passing on the Legacy of Faith to Our Children, about Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the lessons of faith found in this annual joyous observance.
The holiday of Sukkot commemorates how God took care of the Israelites during their 40-year trek through the desert, providing food and shelter in an otherwise desolate setting. As part of remembering God’s providence, we construct our own temporary huts, a sukkah, and live inside of them for an entire week.
When I was growing up in Chicago, our sukkah was made of wood, and I remember my sisters and I watching in awe as my father single-handedly constructed ours.
This was no easy feat. First, my father lugged the wooden walls and beams from our shed to our patio. Then he carefully lined up the pieces so that everything was ready for assembly. The hardest part was joining the first two boards in order to form a corner, which would (hopefully) stand on its own. From there, my father worked tirelessly to stabilize the structure while my sisters and I watched with bated breath. It was always a celebrated accomplishment when the sukkah was finally complete.
One year, there was a powerful storm on the first night of Sukkot. In the morning, we were distraught to see that our sukkah had blown down. My father sensed our sadness and said, “Girls, we will rebuild our sukkah and the rest of the holiday will be fine. But I want you to know that God just taught us a very important lesson about life. We can make plans and work hard, but in the end, only God decides what will happen. Even when we don’t like how things turn out, we trust in God’s plan and that everything is for the best.”
Looking back now, it’s clear to me that God allowing our sukkah to fall was one of the best life lessons I ever received because it was on that day that I learned that when things don’t go according to my plans, it does not mean that God is not in control or that He does not love me. I learned that I do not have to understand God’s ways to know that He is always good. I just need to trust in God’s plan. I learned the true meaning of the verse, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.”
Think of a time when your plans did not work out, but in retrospect, you can see that it was for the best. How does knowing this help you trust in God’s plan today?