Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One Key to Spiritual Growth

Wednesday, June 6
Scripture Reading—Mark 4:21-25

 Some things in life are truly difficult to understand, unless you are willing to persevere.  Advanced calculus, the human genome, nuclear physics, advanced principles of engineering—those are just a few areas of human knowledge that require great effort over a long period of time finally to master.  The people I know who excel in understanding truths that are difficult for many of us to grasp have usually had a special gift that many of us do  not possess.  But they had more than that.  They loved the subject they studied and their love for that subject propelled them to do the hard work necessary to master it.  Growing in our knowledge and understanding of the mystery of God is like that.  Some of us grow discouraged because there are so many things about God and God’s ways with us and the world we do not understand.  Sometimes, those questions are not just intellectually puzzling; they are also emotionally painful.  Why do innocent people suffer?  Why does God feel so far away?  Why do we sometimes feel powerless to do the things we know we ought to do?  Jesus spoke to people in parables.  He was not merely using  familiar images to explain an unseen spiritual reality.  Mark’s gospel claims that the parables not only disclose God’s nature, but they often purposely conceal it from those who might misuse their understanding. (4:33)   Why would Jesus communicate in that way?  Mark says, “For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (4:25)  He’s not talking about economics.  I’ve really struggled with this text, but I think Mark is saying that those who really love the subject—the God made known in Christ—will stay with the questions,  even when the answers are hard to come by.  And the nuggets of truth they discover, often through painful struggle, will become building blocks for a foundation of strong faith that will sustain them through all of life’s ups and downs.

 Thought for the day:  Deeper understanding of God comes to those whose love for God enables them to persevere in faith even in times of darkness and difficulty.

 Prayer:  O God, even when I do not understand you as well as I would like, give me the courage to trust and love you, so that in time, my understanding of your will and purpose for my life and for the world is clear.  Amen. 

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