Thursday, June 2, 2011
It seems to me that my understanding of people and times and places when they stand alone differs substantially from when they stand next to someone or sometime or someplace else. For instance, reading or watching television or even praying takes me more deeply inside, whereas talking or playing or working with other people brings motion and accomplishment not otherwise possible. Another example occurs as I work to develop character. I cannot summon up humility either alone, or even in community. Humility can only come from standing close to God and seeing the vast difference between us. Proximity does this.
Close association also gives depth of understanding. "I love you" from a distance means something very different from "I love you" whispered in my ear. Proximity in the written word enhances it, too. Today, my reading began with this familiar verse:
"My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."--Isaiah 55: 8
In this verse, God apparently declares that we do not think alike, that He will forever remain, at least to some degree, incomprehensible to me. But those words are followed immediately by these, also familiar:
"As the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so the word that goes out of my mouth will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."--Isaiah 55:9-10
These last verses tell me that God gives me His word and His word has purpose, a purpose that God enacts perfectly. Taken together, though, these verses bring new hope and understanding.
You made me different from you, God. So different that I can never understand you. But, in doing that, you also opened a line of communication between us, one that leads inevitably back to You. Because my ways are different from your ways, you gave me your Word, and You do it to fulfill Your purpose, the one that is so different from mine. Your word does not return empty because it returns always to You.
Your word leads me to your thoughts, which lead me down your ways, the only path leading back to You.