“Evan, are you sure that piece wasn’t important?”
I tried not to say anything, but the worry in my gut got the best of me. It was too much to see him pull one more component out of the back of my computer.
“That part was too advanced for you anyways,” my brother responds with a sly smile. He enjoys being sarcastic with me. I suppose it is my just penance for picking on him when we were young.
I smile and quietly remind myself that Evan knows more about computers than a chipmunk knows about acorns. He has fixed my computers several times, and there is no reason to think today will be any different. The challenge comes because I understand so little of what he is doing.
This is the type of experience that was facing the nation of Israel in the first century. Not their computers breaking down, but the challenge of having to trust a Loved One that was doing things they didn’t understand. The Loved One was God, who had showed himself faithful through Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and acquisition of the Promised Land. But now God seemed to be pulling handfuls of wires out of the box. Jesus, the promised king of Israel, dies and is resurrected. The Jewish nation largely rejects this crucified Messiah. The non-Jewish peoples begin to join the movement by the thousands.
For a rabbi like Paul of Tarsus, these events were largely a surprise. He and his people were expecting a king with a long earthly reign, and sweeping influence starting with the nation of Israel and extending out to the rest of the world. But rather than blurting out his concern saying, “God this isn’t the way it is supposed to go!” he instead breaks into trusting praise, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
Paul references the book of Job (pronounced with the long ‘o’ sound) from the Hebrew Bible, and in doing so parallels his experience of surprise and concern with another of God’s people from the past. Job too experienced deep pain and loss without explanation about the purpose behind it. And yet, he was called to trust in the One that was steering his future through dark tunnels.
How do you respond when life’s event, the body’s pains and relationships’ challenges seem to get yanked out, without explanation? Does your worry, or bitterness, get the best of you? Or are you able to trust the One who holds your life in His hands? Maybe like that moment with my brother at the computer we all need to take a deep breath, remind ourselves that He knows what He is doing, and trust God to repair us in the way we need it most.
Together in the journey,
Fr. Cam Lemons