Leaning – January 5, 2020
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
We do a lot of leaning. We lean into a grocery cart to get it moving. We lean back against an easy chair to relax. A mother leans close to comfort a child. And sometimes, we lean against something for support.
Think of a wounded warrior leaning on his cane. Think of what happens if that cane breaks. The lesson is: if we are going to lean on something for support, that something better be strong.
Our Savior God tells us: “Your understanding is not strong enough to carry you through life.”
That may surprise us.
Our ability to reason solves many a problem. Our mind remembers things. It learns new things. It tells us not only that two plus two is four, but also how to start a car. It even figures out how to stop a bullet.
We are not like a tree or a mule. We can think. We can figure things out. We are smart.
But not smart enough.
Our brain is too small to understand things beyond our level of existence. We cannot comprehend the infinite. We cannot process the concepts of eternity, or omniscience, or omnipotence.
In the field of complete understanding, we stand in one little corner looking into the fog of mystery.
When God tells us something, our complaint, “It doesn’t make sense!” dare not be the judgment, “Therefore it cannot be!” Rather, it’s an admission that our understanding is weak.
When asked, “Why does God permit wars?” or “Why are innocent people killed?” or “How can this setback be for my good?” our reason doesn’t know.
But that doesn’t keep it from telling us what it thinks. With satanic prompting, it is quick to say, “God doesn’t care! God doesn’t keep his promises!” Or even, “There is no God.”
Our ability to reason things out is a precious and powerful gift from our Creator. We should use it with thanksgiving.
But we dare not lean our entire weight upon it.
We need something more solid, more certain—something that is indestructible.
We need God. He, alone, is worthy of our complete trust.
We have been told, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The beginning of this universe would be only a guess, except: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (Hebrews 11:3).
Does the creation of all things from no things make sense to us? Of course not.
Does one God, but three Persons make sense? Does the Son of God becoming a human make sense? Do we understand how his death makes up for our sin? Do we understand how he came back from the dead, or how he ascended to heaven?
Do we understand God?
Not now. Not totally. Not yet. But we will. He promised that to us. He kept every promise in the past. He will keep every promise in the future. We can trust in him.
We can lean upon him for support in every need. We must.
Prayer: Lord of time and space, Ruler of eternity, and God of our salvation, we thank you for our ability to reason things out. We thank you more for who you are and what you do that is beyond our understanding. We trust you. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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