It is always good to consider the prayers of the Lord Jesus as a model for our own. In Matthew 11:25, 26 the Lord Jesus is thanking the Father for something that does not seem easy to be thankful for – for something that seems opposite of what it “should” be. The Lord Jesus came to save sinners but He is thanking God for not saving.
From this the believer can learn humbleness. The Lord Jesus understood what God was doing but the believer often doesn’t. It is a great blessing for the believer to be able to admit that he doesn’t understand – that is humility. And there is even great blessing in being able to go beyond not understanding to thanking God for His providences, even the difficult ones.
In this passage there is a recognition that personal efforts are not ultimately useful in this world. The wise and prudent of this world use all of their abilities to think, plan, and judge in this world. But they cannot get anywhere spiritually by all their thinking, planning, and judgment. There is too big a gulf to cross by personal effort. The Lord Jesus is acknowledging that God has hidden the gospel from the wise and prudent of this world. Why? Because their goals are all of this world, things that are visible and going to be burned up. But God’s goals are eternal and invisible. In I Corinthians 2 it is God’s wisdom to hide spiritual things from the worldly and to reveal them to babes. The Lord Jesus declares that this is from His sovereignty as Lord of heaven and earth.
There is always a gulf between the believer and the unbeliever, between the one looking only at the world and the one looking through the world to the spiritual reality behind it. The believer must always keep the world in this proper perspective. The believer must be in the position of the Lord Jesus in His prayer. Are we thankful for God’s wise ruling, even in what we consider to be contrary circumstances? There is a multitude who appear to be in desperate need of the gospel yet it is the wisdom of God to hide it from them. His plan is being fulfilled and we must have the view of the Lord Jesus that He is still Lord of heaven and earth. There must be humility to be thankful when God’s providences go against our desires. This isn’t to say that this won’t be difficult. It will be, but it is necessary for the believer.