Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Just Because You Don't Understand Doesn't Mean I Don't Understand

In Isaiah, the Lord tells us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts...for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so thoughts than your thoughts."

This concept is easy to understand when we are the ones thinking at a higher level, but it is almost impossible for us to fathom when we are the ones whose thoughts are lower.

Perhaps these two examples can help us get a better idea of God's level of thinking, and thus trust Him more fully, as we consider ourselves as His children and as His students.

As a Child

Jane put on her tutu and spun for at least 20 minutes yesterday. She kept saying, "Mom, I'm pretending to be a ballerina. I'm spinning around, spinning around, spinning around..." Then she fell and said, "Whoa. Now that house is spinning around!" 

I tried to explain to her why it looks like the house is spinning, but she insisted, "No, Mom. The house is spinning!" Obviously the house was not actually spinning, but in her perspective, it was. 

She is also living in the "Why?" phase of life, or more often, "But why?" 

I can explain in simple terms why she can't eat chocolate for dinner, why she can't hit Steven, and why she can't use a sharp knife. It is harder for me to articulate why everyone used to be a baby or why I let the nurse hurt her when she gets a shot. 

I stumble as I try explain these things on a toddler level. The answer is obvious to me, but it is just beyond her comprehension and the thought that always comes to mind is, "Just because you don't understand doesn't mean I don't understand!" 

As a Student

I used to teach high school math. Whenever I explained a difficult concept, a student would exclaim, "Mrs. Teixeira, this doesn't make sense!" 

I would remind them, "Actually, it does make sense. It just doesn't make sense to you. Yet.

Those two clarifications are important. All truth cannot be judged on our capacity to understand it. But eventually, in this life or in the eternities, we will understand. 

Perhaps we can keep this in mind when there are trials in our lives that seem unfair, gospel principles we don't understand, situations that seem impossible to remedy and unanswered questions trying our faith. 

Often we ask God, "Why is this happening to me?" or tell Him, "This is too hard. I can't do this." or lose our faith and don't talk to Him at all. Perhaps instead we can remember that His thoughts are higher than ours and we can say, "This doesn't make sense to me. Yet. But just because I don't understand doesn't mean you don't understand and I'm just going to have to trust you on this one."

And then do it. Truly trust Him. He really does understand. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Burden is Light

Matthew 11:28-30 has always been a favorite scripture, but I've always wondered about the last word: my [Christ's] burden is light. I believe Christ can make our burdens light, but His burden seems awfully heavy. 

As Jane and I were vacuuming together a few weeks ago, we finished the rooms downstairs and needed to bring the vacuum upstairs. Jane volunteered to carry the vacuum, but as soon as she tried to pick it up she declared, "It's too heavy." Then she looked at me and said, "Let's do it together!" As I carried the majority of the weight and Jane held the side of the vacuum she said, "There we go. Now it's not heavy." Instantly I heard in my mind, "My burden is light." 

Of course the weight of the vacuum didn't change, but Jane was right--it wasn't heavy anymore. It wasn't heavy for me and so when we did it together it wasn't heavy for either of us. 

There is not a standard of heaviness or a predetermined weight that is "heavy", it is simply a matter of comparison: the weight compared to our capacity, strength or love. If the weight is greater than our capacity, it is heavy. If our capacity is greater than the weight, it is light. 

Jesus has infinite capacity, infinite strength and infinite love. Because of this, my heavy burdens are not heavy to Him. And when we carry them together, I too can say, "There we go. Now it's not heavy."