Sunday, February 8, 2015

Learning even more now

When I was growing up, I tried to learn and learn and learn.  I had a ravenous appetite for learning new things.  I actually was one of those kids in school who looked forward to weekdays, dreaded the weekend, and even longed for school to restart even before summer vacation had begun.  I would read books to explore new worlds, peruse the encyclopedias to uncover new truths about people and places, and gaze upon photos in National Geographic with wonder at the majesty of far off lands and native tribes making a way in jungle regions. I'd study ants coming and going as they diligently cared for their large family. Bird nests became a place of the discovery of patient waiting - longing to discover what tiny life might emerge from those speckled eggs nestled there so carefully. I would watch people in the hallways, on the playground, and even as we walked home after school.  I didn't say much, because I was a shy kid.  Yet, I took it all in.  My imagination was a vast expanse of creative ideas and I longed to fly high into space, dive deep into the ocean depths, and explore the coolness of cavernous holes wiggling their way into the recesses of the earth.  Nothing escaped my attention and nothing became a "waste of my time" - for all I saw became food for thought, fuel for imaginative dreams, and fodder for future plans.  One thing I didn't realize is how much "learning" I could do, but still be so very, very far away from truth.  I think my ravenous appetite for all things new and exciting was just a cry of my soul for what was really missing - Christ!

Day and night I went without sleep, trying to understand what goes on in this world. I saw everything God does, and I realized that no one can really understand what happens. We may be very wise, but no matter how much we try or how much we claim to know, we cannot understand it all. (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17 CEV)

As is often the case, all the "earthly" learning we can possibly accomplish really doesn't help us solve some of the greatest issues in life.  As we begin to think upon this, let me assure you, we all face some pretty similar struggles and those issues may have different "names", but they all pretty much stem from similar "issues".  We need divine wisdom - something learned only when we embrace TRUTH - not the kind we learn from the pages in a book or the experiences of a lifetime - but the kind we embrace when we invite Jesus into our lives.

We "try" to understand what goes on in our lives, but have we really grasped what is behind those sudden twists and turns?  I don't think we know exactly, but we muddle through the best we can based on the learning we have from previous twists or turns.  As a teen, I learned to ride a motorized scooter (a little Honda).  Thinking I had learned to ride motorcycles, I thought it would be no big deal to ride a dirt bike later on in life (one with a lot bigger motor and weighing considerably more).  Let me just say that one rather large bruise on my hip, some scrapes and a whole lot of soreness in my muscles later and I was pretty sure I hadn't "learned" how to ride motorcycles!

What I interpreted as having "learned" in my youth was really just a similar experience, but it wasn't the same.  The principles may have been the same. You turn on a motorcycle by leaning your body this way or that.  Gears shifted down, then up, with neutral being at a certain position.  The clutch was on the same side of the handlebars.  But...the weight and speed of the "bikes" were totally different.  The terrain was even different!  So, although I had "learned" to ride in my youth - that "learning" only provided me with a basic knowledge of what needed to happen when I rode.  It didn't prepare me for the twists and turns of the dirt terrain, or the hawk I'd come upon eating his prey right in the middle of my path!

There is much we claim to have learned in this life - all fades in comparison to exploring the issues of life with the person of TRUTH guiding us through them! We might not see all that is hidden behind or within an issue, but with TRUTH guiding us into and through all our issues, we find the wisdom to embrace them, learn from them, and share the learning with others.  We need Christ at the center - nothing else quite opens the doors to our discovery to the same degree. When we try to "manage" life without Christ being "welcomed into" our experiences, we find them devoid of the depth of "true learning" he desires for us. We might "learn" a few things, but it is in the discovery he provides that true learning occurs.

I discovered things as a kid - but today, when I take time out to just watch those ants or explore the depths of the caverns deep below the surface of this earth, I find something of his majesty in all of this discovery.  This was only hinted upon in my earlier discoveries - but now is opened to me fully.  I notice God in the smallest things - I see his hand in the most intricate of creation. In this, I discover the care he takes in the details of our lives. This encourages me, for when the "details" of my life seem to be in a muddle of sorts, I am able to recount how much I know he cares about even the smallest of details!  Just sayin!

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