Tuesday, June 13, 2017

you'll never guess

St John Cassian talks to us today about millstones in A Year with the Church Fathers. And his advice is very good. It's a new edition of GIGO though... garbage in, garbage out. But he adds that our mind is going to be grinding away 24/7 anyway, and whatever we put into it is going to get ground up and turned into something else... good or bad. If we put in healthy wheat, we get good bread. If we put in weeds, we get junk.

And that takes us to Philippians 4:8. If our minds are going to churn day and night, we need to give them something worth churning, right? Philippians 4:8 tells us what that is. Whatever is true, pure, right, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent, or worthy of praise... think about those things. That's what we should be churning.

That turns our minds to God, right? And when we focus on Him, we realize something about Him. That is, He is a God of surprises. He delights in doing things that we never would have guessed. Think about Jesus during His lifetime. Even His cousin John the Baptist, who right away said, "Look! It's the Lamb of God, come to take away the sins of the world!", later sent His disciples to Jesus to ask, "Um... are you the Messiah? Or should we look for someone else?" Apparently John didn't quite understand what Jesus was up to.

Or let's think about His own mother, Mary. Mary was a very special woman, and she had a very close relationship with Jesus. I'm not sure anyone else in history was as close to Him during His lifetime as she was. She lived with Him every day for over thirty years. But even she was at a loss sometimes. When she and Joseph lost Jesus and then found Him three days later, she asked how He could have done this to them. And He replied, "Didn't you know I had to be about my Father's business?" The same question and the same answer were exchanged throughout His lifetime, as He constantly did things that she had trouble understanding, but it was all about His Father's business.

Finally, His disciples. These guys lived with Jesus day in and day out for His entire ministry. They listened to all of His teachings, and He even gave them the inside scoop when He used His parables. Yet even they abandoned Him when He was tortured, mocked, and crucified. They didn't understand what was happening. And then He rose again from the dead, and they didn't believe it, even though He'd told them He was going to. And THEN, after all of that, they asked Him if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time. Even after everything they'd seen, they still didn't get what He was doing.

Because God surprises us. His ways aren't our ways. His thoughts are so far above ours that even when we stretch our imagination to the breaking point, we still can't predict what He'll do.

So when things are scary in your life, and they will be, keep this in mind. When you don't understand what He's doing, when it all seems to be a big jumble of confusion... remember.

He is a God of surprises. And His surprises are amazing. When things seem darkest (like the crucifixion), remember that the bright morning is just around the corner.

God, thank You for having a plan that we never would have guessed.