Friday, June 17, 2016

Do you see what I see?

“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”  Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.  For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:12-17

The Scientific Method

I've spent the past several days discussing psychological and educational research with colleagues.  These conversations follow a predictable pattern:

  • What's the problem? 
  • Substantiate the problem from previous research
  • Use concrete means to access and collect data
  • Use the scientific method to find out what's going on
  • Provide a solution.  
After many such conversations, the senior researcher in the group commented on the limited nature of scientific knowledge.  Using these methods of knowing, it's impossible to know everything.

Which Lens?

Our ways of knowing things depend on the method of knowing being used.  When I look at my son barely scribbling with a pencil, while the psychologist runs through the items on the psychological evaluation, I could know that his IQ remains below 70 and that he continues to be intellectually disabled (or whatever the current, politically correct word is).  When I support his hand so it's easier for him to control his motor challenges and hold out his letter board and he says "I think carbon dioxide is bigger than politics right now.", I could know he's an incredibly curious, deep thinking young man. What I know depends on the lens I'm looking through.


To Know or Not To Know

It seems as if I have adopted the scientific method as my method for knowing everything.   I've used this method to know how to proceed with my son in various situation and have felt like God had not answered prayer because I used these same reasoning abilities to assess the answer.  The problem is that what I'm able to know about God and about all that He does and says cannot be completely known using scientific methods.  Do you remember the widow in the Old Testament who was on her last bit of oil and corn?  Yet, there was a perpetual refilling of her containers every time she went to make the cake for Elijah (1 Kings 17)?  This does not make any sense.  What about the minuscule cloud that Elijah's servant saw after really searching for a source of rain?  The tiny cloud that Elijah declared to be the source of torrential rain (1 Kings 18:41-44)? It makes no sense.

Sometimes life makes no sense.  But sometimes it makes no sense because of the tools we use to assess 'sense'.  As I grow in this skill of interrogating my assumptions, I must acknowledge the foolishness of trying to hear Mount Everest as a means of knowing that it exists.  In humility I acknowledge that my natural tools cannot know all that can known.  Good thing I have other ways of knowing.  


Knowing for Real

When I remember this, I notice that I can know more through faith, through belief, through the experience of the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation (Ephesians 1:17) who lives inside. With all this ability to know, why reduce things to looking through one lens?  That's like taking off my glasses while driving (very foolish for me).

So today, I'll not be limited and narrow in my ways of knowing.  There is a world of knowing that our Loving Father has shared with us.  I won't list all I can know, but I don't have to limit my knowing to the psychologist's report, my own reasoning or my observations of what my son may do today. I can believe. I can stand in faith. I can access that reality bigger than what I know with my natural senses.  In this reality YAHWEH lives.

Lord, In humility, I acknowledge that I have no idea. I often think I know, but I don't. You are the all knowing, all seeing God, and you invite me to live in that place of knowing, by faith.  Sharpen my eyes, tune my senses, alert my heart so that I will know that YAHWEH is here, present, the ultimate Wild Card.
Amen.







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