Friday, February 23, 2018

A little lesson in calculus

Have you ever been asked a question just way too hard to be answered? Somehow the answer eludes you when you most need it, or you simply cannot conclude you even come close to knowing the answer at all! I once heard it said that if the question was just too hard to answer, changing the question could help. When we ask things a slightly different way, it is amazing how the answer may emerge! When God's truth is revealed to us, asking for a response from us, we sometimes have a hard time accepting or 'knowing' that truth. At other times, that very same truth becomes so easy to grasp or 'know'. It isn't that truth changes - it is that we are hearing the question that beckons us to understand truth in a slightly different way. I think God often asks the questions differently so that we will eventually get to a full comprehension of the truth!

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16 TLB)

We embrace things at different paces - all of us a little different than the other when it comes to our learning. I once had a pastor friend who used to say, "Some of us are like a Missouri mule...we need a two by four up side the head to get our attention." I hope none of us are like that too much of the time, but there are definitely times when I know God is asking me the same question, just in a different way. I didn't get it the first, second, or eighteenth time! I needed his repeating the question - framing it in a different manner, at a different time, or in a way that illustrated what he was trying to help me understand just a little better. There is no crime in needing the question 're-framed', my friend. It might just be the very thing that helps bring the liberty you are so desperately seeking!

Just in case you were wondering, I have actually asked God to ask the searching questions that reveal where truth needs to come into my life - sometimes repeatedly for the same area. I am not afraid to tell him I need it asked a 'different way' because I just didn't 'get it' the first or eighteenth time! There is no harm in admitting the question didn't get the answer we needed to arrive at in our lives - and in asking, God isn't going to turn us away. He will 're-frame' it so we have another chance to see the exact same truth, but from an angle we may actually understand and embrace! As I said, it isn't that the truth changed - it is that the way we view truth because the question is asked a little differently has opened us up to see truth - maybe for the very first time.

Truth doesn't come all at once - we wouldn't know what to do with it if it did! We'd be on overload. If we went into a calculus class one afternoon, textbook in hand, professor at the whiteboard, would we expect to learn all the principles of 'continual change' all in that one hour class. Did you realize calculus was the study of 'continual change'? Differential calculus studies the 'rate' of change - how much there is a slope or curve to the change. Integral calculus studies the 'accumulation' of the parts that go into that change (what makes up the parts under or over that curve).  Just knowing that much about calculus is not going to make us a calculus 'expert', is it? Yet, understanding it is the study of change might just give us insight into our own ways of learning...

--- We all have the need for 'continual change' and all of life is based on the 'curve' - we are going through change from the moment we are conceived till who really knows when? Even in death, we are changing! Decay is even a process of change. If we know this about ourselves, then we shouldn't be surprised that God will 're-phrase' the questions until the change is complete! After all, the truth will bring change and change is never done!

--- We all have moments of recognizing change is based upon 'accumulated knowledge' - we embrace new aspects of the same truth and put it into practice. There are parts 'beneath' and 'above' the "curve of learning" in our lives that make up the accumulated parts of that change. God is assuring we see all the parts by asking us the questions again and again, in new ways, until we have a thorough understanding of the 'parts' of truth that make up that 'curve' of continual change! Just sayin!