Reflection March 26
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:6-11
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” When we read these words, it is easy to think that Isaiah is declaring that God’s ways are “better” than ours. That his thoughts are “purer” or “nicer”. We think this is just a matter of degree. I can have good thoughts, but God’s thoughts are even better. We think of it like a grading scale. Perhaps my ways would earn me a “C” where as God’s ways are obviously an “A+”. In this way it seems that all I need is to “do better”. But I don’t think that is what Isaiah meant. Rather I think it is probably analogous to a situation I have encountered in physical therapy.
On occasion an individual who has suffered a stroke will present with a condition known as Pusher’s Syndrome. Someone who exhibits Pusher’s Syndrome is unable to correctly orient to the upright position. These individuals feel they are sitting or standing up straight, while in reality they are leaning to one side (typically the left side). Sometimes the lean is so significant that without support they are at risk of falling. If a caregiver tries to help guide them into an upright posture, they feel as if they are being pushed over and push back hard against the person who is trying to help them.
I think this is probably closer to what Isaiah is referring to. It’s not just that God’s ways are “better” than my ways, which of course they are, but rather it is that my understanding of reality is askew. I am not “oriented to upright”, what I feel and perceive is not an accurate representation of reality.
When I have had the opportunity to work with individuals with Pusher’s Syndrome, I have always been amazed they are able to trust me. Here I am, a complete stranger, telling them that what they feel and are convinced of is not true and that it is dangerous to their well being. I ask them to listen to me and put their trust in me even when everything within them is screaming, “I’m going to fall!” They do so because of my “authority” as a health care provider.
How much more should I be able to put my trust in God, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Even if I am scared and am sure I am going to fall. Even when I don’t understand and can’t fully perceive Kingdom realities. I can trust in Him to guide me in upright Kingdom living. When I listen to His word and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through my life, I can be confident that He can accomplish his purpose even through a disoriented individual like me.