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“It is Not for Me to Understand”

Thank you, Cody Rath!

So, on Sunday afternoon, Cody Rath, a member of our church, brought up a song by Willie Nelson called "It Is Not For Me to Understand" while still mulling over the sermon "Why is there Suffering?" which was based on John 9:1-3. And let me tell you, it hit bullseye.

Full disclosure: I know nothing about Willie Nelson, but those lyrics hit home in a way I didn't expect, and I think they might do the same for you.

So, while resting at home, I started listening to Willie. And let me tell you, he might not look like it, but Willie is actually a theologian who sings, and preacher with long hair. Would anybody oppose a sermon series on “The Things that Willie Says…” Hahaha.

Anyhow, the song “It is Not for Me to Understand” starts off with Willie singing about passing by a house and witnessing something that gave him pause – a blind child. It's not explicitly stated that the child was suffering, but the image of them being all alone cuts deep.

All alone, isn't that something we all see every day? Whether it's someone struggling in our community or heartbreaking news stories on our screens, loneliness surrounds us. But how often do we actually pause, like Jesus did with the man who was blind in John 9?

Then, Nelson quickly describes the child's face as pure sweetness and kindness despite his apparent blindness. It's like a reminder that even in the darkest times, God's grace still shines through. It's a powerful image that really makes you stop and think. Within the Body of the song, it seems that the one experiencing grief is Willie and not the child… the child has a face that is sweet and kind. Interesting? I think so... I am still thinking about it.

But then, there's this line, "So question not what I command," which really got me pondering and got me to argue.

On one hand, yes, we're just human, and there's so much about God's ways that we can't possibly understand. But does that mean we shouldn't ask questions?

So the whole line “So question not what I command” made me reflect upon Job 40:1-5, where Job realizes the limits of his understanding and chooses to trust God's wisdom. And I came to consider that maybe the problem or issue isn't questioning itself but thinking that we, as humans, know better than God. And when I think about Jesus, He welcomed questions from His disciples all the time. He encouraged them to seek understanding and grow in their faith. I know that I am right… the problem isn’t the questions, the problem is that we think we know better.

So yeah, while we might not always comprehend why things happen the way they do, I believe it's okay to bring our questions to God. After all, we're not just "men" – we're children of the Most High, and we have complete access to God.

Also, it got me thinking about spiritual blindness – Read, John 9:39-41 Jesus came to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are actually blind. It's a reminder that our understanding is limited, and our pride can blind us from the truth. So, as we journey together in faith, let's embrace the mysteries of life, trusting that God is guiding us every step of the way.

So yeah, a life-giving afternoon! Thank you, Cody… What a song…

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