Tuesday, March 3, 2015


"I can't wrap my mind around that." The first time I heard that phrase I was aggravated by it. I wondered what was wrong with the good old, tried and true admission: "That just doesn't make sense"? But the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. It visualizes the drive we humans feel to make sense of our lives and our world.

We don't like to pass by unsolved mysteries. Wise Solomon had it right when he wrote, "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out" (Proverbs 25:2). Most people want to know the reason things happen, and the more unclear the matter is, the more aggravated we feel, until we have a rational solution.

Sometimes that curiosity leads us to wonderful discoveries. Scientists have searched out the workings of the natural world around us. When I read of new things they have discovered about the human body, or about space, or about atoms, I'm always filled with awe and wonder at the handiwork of our God and Creator.

But then there are questions that seem destined to remain unanswered. Last week the state auditor of Missouri called the local newspaper and set up an interview for later the same afternoon. Then, less than ten minutes later, he shot himself. Soon afterward he died at the hospital. The police found no suicide note, no e-mail, no voicemail; there was no good reason why he decided to end his life. But looking at the evidence from the scene, they finally called it an "apparent suicide."

Immediately, the local paper and TV stations started scouring political ads and all sorts of things to try to figure out what triggered him to take his life. They desperately wanted to provide the reason why a person would feel compelled to take his life. But as a commentator wisely reminded us, "We are looking for a rational reason for an irrational act."

So often in life, especially in our relationship with God, that is what we are trying to do. We want to figure out why God has allowed difficulty, sorrow, loss or grief in our lives. We want to wrap our minds around something our minds aren't big enough to get wrapped around. I remember an eighth-grader in confirmation class who was bound and determined to figure out the Trinity. She wasn't satisfied with the glimpse of the three Persons in one God. She tried to shrink God down and fit Him into a nice, little box she could wrap her mind around. The trouble with that is if simple creatures like us can figure out God, He wouldn't be much of a God, would He?

I often hear people try to understand what God is doing in the events in their lives. They ask, "Why is God treating me this way?" or "What is God trying to tell me?" That's a really dangerous game to play, especially when we try to wrap our minds around things that are so complex, and we have such a limited perspective.

God put our mind-wrapping quest in perspective when He said, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8). There are times when we need to put down the box, stop trying to stretch our minds, and simply trust Him like a child. Let God be God -- and praise Him that He is, and ask Him to remind us that we are not.

Humans are born to ask questions, it seems. From these we learn and navigate our way through life. What are some things you've tried to wrap your mind around? You can give us your perspective by clicking here.

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