Thursday, December 4, 2014

Stretch Your Thoughts and Ways

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord."  --Isaiah 55:8
How often does it happen that we're faced with some situation that needs prayer?  We gather up silent space and begin praying for the positive outcome we want.  Sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, the prayer is answered in exactly the way we desire.  Fairly frequently the answer is not what we had hoped.  Sometimes, the answer is even the direct opposite of what we needed.  Or, how often do bad things happen to good people?  Or, how often do you find yourself in the troubled space of wondering whether God really can or will protect us or our loved ones?  This verse from Isaiah is a good one to memorize and keep in our quiver of arrows to shoot at the doubts that creep into our minds.

We humans like to fancy ourselves as having control.  Some non-religious types, who reek control, drive us crazy with their bossiness and need to be right.  More religious types might carry an indirect righteousness of control; namely, by being good enough God will do their bidding.  The reality, however, is that nobody has the experience, perspective, or scope on life that God holds.  God's thoughts and ways are seriously nothing like mine, as pure as mine might seem from time to time.  The truth is, I don't get it and never will in this life.  All I can do is remember that my thoughts, understanding, and ways are forever going to be getting stretched if I am sincerely surrendering to the full Wisdom and Majesty of God.

We can get angry with God over suffering.  We can claim doubts about God's presence.  We can even say we are done with God.  We would not be the first ones to do so over all the expanse of time and space.  "Scoot over all you millions of disgruntled people, let's commiserate."  We aren't going to be the last.

Hope and faith share a common factor.  That factor is that when what we have faith in or hope for is visible and always proven through a preponderance of evidence, it is no longer faith or hope that we have.  Faith and hope are founded on an invisible, and yes, at times disputable, fact that God is.  This majestic divine presence who has called us out of our wee humanness invites us to stand back in life as witnesses to the suffering, pain, glory, and power of living firmly resolved to hope and have faith.  Your life, your period of suffering, is but a blink of an eye in the eternal embrace of God's overwhelming Light and Love freely given to you.  So, when overwhelmed with loss, sadness, misery, or mystery stretch your thoughts out on the rack of eternity and with a blind assurance of God's love just stretch.  Stretch wide until you can foresee that glimmer in the east -- Love does win in the end.  It always will!

Dear God, relax me into the stretch to feel your eternal mercy at all times.  In Christ, through Christ, and beside Christ we walk and pray.  Amen.