“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
If you listened closely, you may have heard to collective groans go across Central Ohio yesterday evening. One was from any University of Kentucky Fans watching the end of the tournament game. The other was from those who were trying to watch the game only to have the last few seconds interuppted by a tornado warning as storms swept through the area.
I’ll admit I was one of the complainers. Obviously we want people to be safe and a person’s life always takes precedence over entertainment. However, the lack of a split screen, or actually anything on the screen, and the game being very close added to the frustration.
Judging by the reactions of many who commented on social media I wasn’t alone. Honestly, as angry as I was, I came out on the rational end compared to some who decided to comment. Apparently we have a lot more UK fans in Central Ohio than I thought, or people just relay love the tournament.
And I have no doubt that’s true. March Madness is big business. Even people who don’t watch college basketball fill out their brackets and watch the games. But looking at the comments, I find myself wondering if there is something else going on here. I wondered if it was a love of basketball or the frustration that comes from having one’s plans interuppted that caused all the angst.
None of us like having our plans interupptions. I know I don’t. But I believe most of us can deal with life’s interupptions when they make sense. It’s the time when life doesn’t make sense that causes our frustration to grow. I wonder if there had been a split screen or at least a video feed of any kind of people would have been as upset? As it was it just didn’t make sense.
We seem to have a guiding prinicple here don’t we? We can deal with life when it makes sense. We have a much harder time dealing with it when it doesn’t. When our lives are upset by interupptions that simply don’t make sense to us, it’s jarring. We get angry. But here also lies the problem. Life very seldom makes sense.
I am bombarded constantly by situations in my life that don’t make sense. Loved ones make decisions that don’t make any sense and we have to sit helplessly on the sidelines as they struggle. Sometimes we are adversely affected by those nonsensical decisions. Our bosses make decisions that make no sense to us, or the corruption itself makes decisions that we don’t understand. We see people being promoted for, as far as we can tell, no good reason while we languish in obscurity. In fact, there are times when God himself does things, or allows things to happen that simply don’t make sense to us. How are we to survive with any sanity in a world that makes no sense and constantly frustrates us.
First we survive by being honest. When we say life, maybe even God himself , doesn’t make any sense what we really mean is things aren’t working out the way I think they should. It’s not that life doesn’t make sense. Its that things aren’t going according to our plan. The sooner we can made it the issue is we aren’t getting what we want, the better off we will be.
Or second step is to admit we can be wrong. A jarring blow to our egos, I know. But isn’t it possible that if life “made sense” meaning it went he way we wan tit to, that we could end up in a much worse spot? I often what things to go a certain way for me regardless of how others might be affected. There are plenty of times I can look back over my life and say I’m glad life didn’t “make sense”.
This is what the Proverbs mean by not leaning on our own understanding. It’s not that we aren’t intelligent, thoughtful people. We are. It’s just that our understanding will always be incomplete. And often selfish. The Proverb suggests that if our understanding of how life should be is incomplete and often in error, than wouldn’t it be better to look somewhere else?
If you want to survive a world that doesn’t make sense, the Scripture suggests we hold onto the one we can trust. Trust God with all your heart. That’s a huge paradigm shift in how we deal with life. It means we come to God and shout, “Life doesn’t make sense!”. And his answer is “Does it have to?” Would it make your life any easier if it did? Can you trust me even when life doesn’t make sense? Anyone can trust when they are getting their own way. But am I the same God when life is interrupted and makes no sense?Thankfully, He is.
It’s not that we as Christians adopt a laissez-faire attitude. Or that we ignore those times of deep struggle and confusion actually the opposite. It’s Ok for us to have questions. It’s OK for us to question God, otherwise we have to do away with most of the Psalms. It’s that we know in the end the answer is not about a solution, but a person. It’s about a relationship with a God whose love and understanding is far above our own. And if we choose to lean on something in life, it’s better to lean on Him.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><