Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Can We Sit With Mystery?

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgements,
and His paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?
Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?
For from Him and through Him and for Him
are all things.
To him be the glory forever!

When I was younger, I used to want to know everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. The how, why, what, who, and when all needed to be clearly explained to me so that I could be on top of it all.

But not everything can be completely understood.

Especially God.

And now I find that comforting.

If something is black and white, boiled down to a tidy answer, then I feel like I've got it under control, that I am knowledgeable enough to stand my own ground. If ever I thought that about God, then He would cease to be the Originator, the Creator, the Sustainer, and become an icon or a vending machine.

Yesterday someone told me that knowing God is like standing on the edge of a beach by the seaside. You can see a small section of the ocean, enough to know that it is complex beyond what your eyes can see, that it extends deep and wide and across much more that your limited senses can grasp, that the possibilities of the ocean are endless, and that we are only seeing one tiny view of what the ocean really is... but that we can comprehend enough to know that it IS the ocean.

How much do I think I KNOW about God?

Thankful today that I can sit with mystery, that God is not something we can fully grasp.

~ Counting Down to Easter Day By Day ~

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finding PROOF for What You Believe... or Not

The women's Bible study I'm part of is going through the book of Romans right now.

I've never felt so torn while studying Scripture before.

Part of my struggle is that there's a lot of talk about predestination, foreordainment, and other big words that make my head spin.

Another part of it is that most people fall on one or the other side of a very difficult fence: do you believe that God is completely, utterly in charge of who is "saved", or that humans are the ones who ultimately make the initial (or final) decision in the matter?

And so the discussions begin. And passages of "proof" for both sides are brought out. And technical terms are thrown around, while simple folk like me try to keep from looking too puzzled.

To most of my friends' credit, there are rarely any heated arguments. They do try to err on the side of grace when they disagree; most will admit that it is a tricky subject no matter what you believe.

What DO I believe?

It's such a relief to know that God doesn't demand us getting our theology all figured out before He'll love us. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast," as Ephesians 2 says.

No matter how confusing the hard parts of the Bible can be, at least we know one thing for sure: the love we are given is by grace, through faith, a miraculous gift offered to us in the midst of our struggles to understand.

Grateful for love today.

~ Counting Down to Easter Day By Day ~

His Love Endures Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
     His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
     His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
     His love endures forever.

Why? What has he done?

He alone does great wonders.
By His understanding, he made the heavens,
He spread out the earth upon the waters,
He made the great lights.
the sun to govern the day,
the moon and stars to govern the night-
     His love endures forever.

As the season of spring eases into view, Psalm 136 comes to mind. Nature is never more glorious when coming back into her mad burst of life after a harsh winter. Just as I would go to an art museum to admire the skill of the artists, I walk among the green-newness and birds and sunshine rejoicing in the Creator whose hand sustains it and brought it forth.

Even on days when my inner strength is depleted, it is encouraging to step outside and see the wonders of nature. Very grateful for the evidence of the Maker around me.

What brings you back to thankfulness when you feel thankless?

~ Counting Down to Easter Day by Day ~