A Limited Understanding

Daily Post: Finite


No, this is not the latest image of Hurricane Irma.  While it may have a similar look, two notable differences are obvious.  First, the rotation of this body (if it is indeed moving) is clockwise.  Hurricane Irma’s rotation is counter-clockwise.  Second, the image above is a photo of the Milky Way Galaxy taken from space.  Our tiny home, the Planet Earth, would be virtually impossible to locate in this image since our Sun is represented by only a tiny dot just north of the second band away from the center of the image.  These are known facts, representing limited or finite human knowledge.

Regarding Irma, every meteorologist in the western hemisphere is trying to predict Irma’s course, strength, and what will happen along the way.  But none of them have infinite knowledge or understanding which would enable them to be perfect in their predictions.   This storm is governed by the hand of God, and will yield only to, and in accord with, the commands of God.  In just the same way, the Milky Way Galaxy has been in place, and will stay in place because of God’s command.

Psalm 147:4
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.

Psalm 8:3-4
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? 

Think of it this way, “creation” is God’s act of bringing everything into existence, described for us in the Genesis 1 narrative. Scripture says God made the world “out of nothing,” ex nihilo.  So, before “the beginning” of Genesis 1, there was nothing but God himself.  There was no Milky Way Galaxy, there was no light to separate from the darkness, there was nothing but God.  He is infinite.  We are finite.

Our knowledge is finite.  Our understanding is finite.  We challenge the limitations of our knowledge and understanding daily, but we will never attain infinite wisdom and knowledge.  Those are attributes of the Creator, not the creature.

Why is it so important to yield to this awareness of exactly how finite our existence really is?  Because in the depraved darkness of an unyielding mind, there are those who see themselves as gods.  As though they had the ability to speak and sun, moon, stars, and planets would come into existence.  Or worse, that they can understand how these heavenly bodies came into existence without the help of a Creator, and tend to wax eloquent regarding the ignorance of those who believe the Genesis narrative.

It’s important to understand our finite understanding, knowledge, and abilities in order to recognize our need for a Savior.  If we think we are not lost, we have no need to be saved.  If we think we can save ourselves, we have no need for a Savior.  If we think we have all knowledge and understanding, we are infinitely out of touch with reality.

Today, we should pray to the Creator of the Universe to spare those in the path of Irma, even as we pray for His providential care for those who have suffered through Harvey.

Today, we should pray for enlightenment to come to those who think they need no saving grace, that they would come to know they do.

Today, in our finite understanding, we should give glory to the Infinite Creator who loves us, and gave Himself to save us.




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The Hardest Thing

Daily Post:  Continue


When you’ve just hit your golf ball from the tee, while you and your buddies watch it sail 250 yards, but on a giant arc to the left out of bounds, it is hard to continue.  According to the rules of golf, you don’t go up to where you think your ball went out of bounds and play from there.  You don’t say “mulligan” and re-tee another ball as though the first one didn’t count.  You don’t ask your playing buddies for mercy.  What you do is re-tee another golf ball, and courageously say, “hitting three,” and swing away, hoping for a better result this time.  The hardest thing to do at that moment is to continue. At times golf can be relentless and brutal, but you must continue. I know, because I’ve been there.

Life can be just as brutal, don’t you think?  Being persistent, maintaining the course, carrying on, is just hard to continue at times.  But life is not at all a game like golf.  If you really want to, you can quit playing golf, and take up knitting.  In the long run, that might be best for some of the golfers I’ve known through the years.  In life however, we continue, even when it is hard, and the future is uncertain. Hurricane Harvey has changed many people’s lives, thousands and thousands, and changed them forever.  Their former homes are gone, along with possessions, or animals, or loved ones.  Harvey was brutal and un-abating for hours and hours, even now dumping rain along the southern U.S. gulf coast, continuing it’s impact on human life.

It is in moments like these that well-meaning people offer well-worn phrases in the attempt to bring comfort to those who have experienced loss.  I know only too well, after 30 years of pastoring and teaching that there are no words.  What speaks loudest, what comforts most, what brings healing, is time.  You must continue.  Someone who desires to aid the victims of life’s tragedies must also be willing to put in time.  We can say, “just let go, and let God handle it,” or “God has a plan for all of this,” or “God still sees you in this pain.”  We can say it, but it doesn’t mean these words bring comfort or resolution to those who are in the middle of a tragedy like Harvey.

Sometimes, I think we need to re-think what we say.  Sort of like, re-teeing an out of bounds tee shot…

Maybe we should be asking questions instead of saying things that don’t help.  Asking, “what is your greatest need right this minute?”  Asking, “do you need food, water, shelter?”  Asking, “why don’t you come stay with me, until this gets worked out?”  It’s been heartwarming in ways to see how many people have stepped up to help find and rescue the hundreds left stranded in their homes by floodwaters.  But isn’t the rescuing from death just the beginning of starting over?  It would be easy to just throw up our hands in frustration and confusion because we don’t really know what to do next.  It would be easy to say, “I’ve done my part, but I can’t keep this up, I’ve got my own life and concerns.”  It isn’t time to quit, it is important to continue, after all, they do.

About now you may be thinking, “That’s what all those emergency services are for! They don’t need my help, and I would just be in the way.”  The reality here is that every single one of these emergencies services will be tasked for months if not years, just getting to all the people who have been affected by Harvey.  It is time for someone, perhaps you and me, to stand in the gap for those in such dire straights.  For some of you, that will mean physically or financially getting involved in the rescue, or rebuilding processes.  For others it will mean doing what we can – which is praying for God to intervene in miraculous ways to comfort, encourage, strengthen, and bring aid to those in need in the wake of this horrific storm.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

If you have had to continue on through dark days of trial and angst, and have been comforted through those times by God’s hand of grace and mercy, then you are well-equipped now to offer this comfort to those who need it most this minute.

Sometimes the hardest thing… is just to continue. Continue anyway.

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