Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, April 1, Evening
By Esther W. Bare, March 12, 1976
When We Don’t Understand
Read Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 13:8-9
We Americans are a people who want to know. Indeed, the genius of Western man, some say, has been that he was determined to push the limits of his knowledge as far as he could and then put that knowledge into action. As individuals, we follow a somewhat similar path as we grow up: we try to understand ourselves, our families, other people, and the world beyond, and as Christians we try to relate our knowledge and understanding to God and his plan for us and for the world. Surely it is good to attempt this, for we remember that Jesus expanded the Great Commandment of the Old Testament – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength” – to include loving God with all our minds.
But there is a point at which understanding ends. No matter how wonderfully satisfying our relationship with God may seem at times, sooner or later most of us are brought face to face with realities we cannot reconcile with our faith, situations that jar the foundations of our beliefs. And it is here that we may turn away and abandon our faith. Or we may look at Jesus on the cross.
Our hearts shrink from His suffering, yet we must hear the words: “My God, my God why has Thou forsaken me?” For his agony was not only of the body, it was the pain of despair, of non-understanding, of alienation from the Father to whom he had dedicated his life.
Christ on the cross gives us the answer, too; not so much an answer, though, as the way in which we may follow: “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
Help us to place our spirits into Thy hands, in times of joy and in times of despair. Save us from relying too much on knowledge and from making progress our god. Help us to realize our weaknesses, that we may seek Thy guidance always, in the name of Jesus who showed us the Way. Amen.