A Devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
I recently came across an interesting statement about faith: “The Bible never once says, ‘Figure it out!’ but over and over it says, ‘Trust God.”
That reminds me of a story of three people applying for a job in a huge corporation. Each candidate was eminently qualified. For the interview, the CEO of the company decided to ask a simple question: “What is 2 plus 2?” The first candidate decided to go with the straight-forward, simple answer, and said: “4.” The second candidate decided to add a bit of complexity: “It’s the whole number between 3 and 5.” The third candidate, without batting an eye, replied: “What would you LIKE it to be?” The third candidate was hired on the spot.
This is good parable for our faith. Things don’t always “add up” with God. God’s ways are unexpected. God can surprise us. 2 plus 2 doesn’t always equal 4 in the ways of God. God’s “math” is divine, and therefore beyond human understanding.
So when we have those tough questions like, “why did this happen?” or “why did this person die?” the best question we might ask God is “What would YOU like the answer to be?” It’s a way of saying, “I trust you, God.”
We aren’t SUPPOSED to “figure God out.” Our human minds cannot grasp the wholeness and magnificence of God. When we pretend we have figured God out, we make ourselves equal to God. You shall have no other gods greater or even equal to God, and that includes yourself.
We can certainly experience the presence of God. God always comes down to us. God is ever-present, always speaking to us. We can understand some of what God says. We can interpret some of what God wants of us. But we cannot understand the totality of the divine mind and heart. We can’t figure it all out, especially when the questions get more complex than “what is 2 plus 2!”
So, when we have a tough question, we can never go wrong by turning to God and asking, “What would YOU like the answer to be?” Whatever answer we receive (even when we seem to receive no answer), we can find a way to respond in gratitude and love. Because we believe God is here. We believe God is redeeming the world!
Sometimes we need to stop, look, feel, and experience God’s redeeming work around us. God even uses us to do that work. Sometimes we participate with God just by being there for another, by praying with or for someone, in giving a gift or sending a card or online greeting. We are participants in God’s reign!
God wants to save us. God wants to redeem us in Christ. It’s not up to us to set the agenda for how that happens. We need to trust to God and ask: “How would YOU like to save me and others?” Certainly, God will always point us to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Christ crucified, risen from the dead. Trust God in this.
Finally, let God keep the hard answers. Our task is not to get all the answers, but to love God who always comes to us in new, surprising, unexpected, and beautiful ways!
So what do I do when I have a tough, troubling life-question: Trust God! Trust God! Trust God!