This week my daughter had a younger, seven-year-old friend over to play. As a gift, she brought a hand-made construction paper book that she’d strung together with yarn. On front she’d written one word: Lidea.
It took me a moment to figure out what it said. Then I realized it was my daughter’s name, Lydia, spelled phonetically. L-I-D-E-A is exactly how my daughter’s name sounds, except for one thing. It is entirely wrong.
After getting a kick out of how cute this was, I realized this little girl’s well reasoned attempt at spelling closely resembles mine.
I frequently reason life out using the rules I know. Losing someone you love is bad. More–money or friends or success–is good. Etc.
Yet, like spelling, life doesn’t often follow “the rules.” And the rules I believe aren’t always correct.
That’s because there is a higher set of rules that I can’t always ascertain.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6 says.
Rather than trying to figure things out, we are called to trust. When someone we love dies. When “bad” things happen. When life doesn’t make sense.
Why? Because when we try to figure things out based on what we know, we are often wrong. The reason is found in Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
My knowledge when compared to God’s is as great as the distance between my little house in Maine and the moon. Why a child dies or a spouse loses a job or a loved one gets sick is just as beyond my ability to comprehend as the formation of distant galaxies.
The good news is that my path isn’t ordered by the stars but by the God who created them. The same loving Father who created the world wrote the rules that govern it. Humankind has spent millennia trying to figure out the rules, trying to make sense of what we cannot see by what we can.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this except for our limited perspective.
And so when life hurts, when I have a need, when nothing makes sense, I’m better off relying on revelation than on reason. On prayer. On Scripture. On learning to spell by God’s rules not on how the rules appear to me.
No, this won’t always provide answers to life’s problems, but it assures me that even if I don’t know the answers God does. As I seek Him, He teaches me to spell.
And one day, it will all make sense.
“For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly,but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known,” I Corinthians 13:9-12.