By The Rev. Frank Allen
God’s ways are not our ways, the prophet Isaiah tells us later this year. God’s ways are different than our ways of power and prestige and physical vitality. And though it’s not that God has a particular judgment against power or prestige or physical strength, it’s just that God approaches them from the backside as though they are of secondary importance.
The pleas of Zelophehad’s daughters over what property in the Promised Land would be allotted to their family since their father has no male heirs appears to be a fairly cut and dried issue. Property ownership by women in Moses’ day was unusual. The laws of the day should make for an easy decision – no. On the other hand, the God of justice might have other ideas and grant the land in the name of fairness and evenhandedness. So what’s the man of God’s first response to this apparently easy decision? Moses brings the matter before God and awaits God’s decision. Moses is a man of God because he relies on God first and foremost. The Lord speaks to Moses and the matter is decided with a wisdom that is far beyond most of us.
Psalm 49 is the most proverbial of all the pslams, reminding us of the importance of wisdom and the fleeting reality of life. Neither power, nor prestige, nor long life compares to the true riches found in the wisdom and the life lived with God.
And it is the faith, not the worthiness of the centurion that brings healing to the centurion’s servant. It is faith, not the importance or unimportance of the widow of Nain that empowers Jesus to bring her son back to life. It is faith that brings forgiveness to the sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with oil and tears. It is faith that saves us.
God’s ways may not be our ways, but when we seek the Lord and offer what little faith we have, God will give us the answer and change the circumstances of the world around us. It is the opening of the door of our lives that gives God permission to enter in.
When is the last time you prayed and asked God to help you with a question or some difficulty you are facing in your life?
Where do you have a need in your life that you could open the way for God to heal you?
Lord God, we trust that you are a God who provides us all we need; help us to set aside our reliance on earthly power and prestige and prosperity and out our trust in you first, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Rev. Frank Allen is Rector of St. David’s Church in Radnor, Pennsylvania