Monday, February 20, 2006

"Stuff and nonsense."

It is human nature, I suppose, to “want in” on everything. A sense of power is gained with knowledge of plans and purposes. We smile with smugness when we are “in the know”.

Christians are far from exempt from such tendencies. We like to imagine that we can understand the mind of God. When we find ourselves left in the dark, we grasp for clues in an attempt to make sense of the bare facts, believing that somewhere there is a perfect answer to the puzzle presented. We search the past, examine the present, and hypothesize the future in hopes of discovering His secrets.

But perhaps we will not be privy to the motivation for every occurrence. Perhaps we do not need to know.

I am not seeking to belittle a desire to know Him and be close to His heart. We should hunger to know and be known by Him. He Himself has chosen to call us friends. And, after all, friends are “in the know”. Then, as well, there is the promise given by Him to teach us His way. His law will be written on our hearts. It is clearly our portion to live with His very Spirit indwelling our spirit. But here, as so often in this Christian life, we are once again confronted with a paradox – we can and should know God intimately and yet we must walk in fear of His awesomeness. We may be His friends but we will never be His equal.

I smile as someone conjectures God’s purposes in my life (as we are all wont to do for one another.) Numerous ciphers of “knowledge too wonderful” have already been suggested. “Perhaps it was for this reason.” “God is providing this opportunity for this purpose.” “He caused this suffering to accomplish this end.”

I myself join in with postulation of my own, offering a variety of feasible explanations for this current dilemma. But in the end I come to one conclusion: “Stuff and nonsense.” (Thanks, Marilla.)

God is my refuge and my strength. His ways are above my ways, His judgments unsearchable. I understand in part, I see dimly.

God did not determine exactly what would happen to Job. Satan was allowed some choice in the matter. Perimeters of jurisdiction were inscribed but within those limitations our enemy was free to exercise his diabolical will. Boils weren’t inflicted or destruction meted out, nor were demeaning friends sent with specific assignment from God; but neither was His hand completely removed.

We know that Paul had to accept his “thorn in the flesh” after beseeching God for its removal. God had determined that Paul's demonic companion would serve His purposes. Satan touched Paul’s life but God’s hand was never completely removed.

We may or may not learn certain things. God let Paul know, in measure. Job simply found comfort in seeing God as God. So what should we conclude? That God can do as He pleases and is free to enlighten if and when He chooses.

In the final analysis of events, when clues are assembled and our best guesses proffered, when assessment of sin and consequence are determined, as prognosis is postulated and outcome prophesied, we must remember that His ways are higher than our own. Our reasoning and understanding is limited: it is only so much stuff and nonsense.

Therefore I will choose to trust in God. Mercy and authority all belong to Him and He alone has every answer. Because He ultimately holds all the cards in His hand, my bet will be on Him.

And besides, His hand will never be completely removed.

Ro 11:33 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! I am glad to hear you are not in the "depths of despair" :)

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope to not be a bother but I was wondering if I could borrow a book from you. I'm looking for Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. Or if there are any other child-rearing books you would recommend, I'm open to suggestions.
No rush, just let me know when you can. thank you!

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post is positively poetic! Laughing at Angela Wez's comment. I remember when you were pregnant with Camilla and thinking up a name... I suggested to Danica, "How about Marilla?" She looked at me like I had just pulled the name out from under a moth-ball scented granny-doilie... "Marilla! What a boring old name!!!" Hey, I was close!!!!! Marilla-Camilla! HAHAHA!

12:11 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Moulton said...

You will appreciate this:

It goes along with what you said about the Lord's hand not being completely removed...

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be in Madrid on Thursday late-morning/early afternoon. Could I stop by then?

I really appreciate it!

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is 9 AM too early for visitors? We have a meeting at 10 AM in Madrid so if we came before the meeting, that would free up your afternoon to have lunch and visit.

If that won't work, perhaps we could just come on Friday. Thanks so much!

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta love that Marilla!

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just trying to contact you. Since I'm not sure how often you check your website or email I thought I'd try both. I sent you an email about this Friday...please let me know what you think. Thanks.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I bring your family a meal on Tuesday? Will that be helpful- or is there something else that would be MORE helpful? Also- Timothy has asked if perhaps Merrick could come over to play sometime.
-Lisa C.

3:01 PM  

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