Playing by Different Rules

Playing games with young children is always loads of fun, as much for the excitement they bring as for the unexpected moments they generate. Over recent weeks we have enjoyed playing "riddley-riddley-ree" as we travel in the car. Caleb, being older, generates some rather elaborate abbreviations: "G.T." being green tree. Rachel rather enjoys the game, but as yet fails to see the link between the letters chosen and the item she is thinking of. Picture the following exchange.

Rachel: "Riddley, Riddley, Ree, there's something I can see, and it starts with D.G."

The remaining brains trust in the car applied itself to unravelling this mystery. Even a few clues (inside or outside?) don't seem to bring much joy. Finally we give in, and have to ask Rachel to reveal this mystery. The answer? "CAR"!

It didn't take long for us to realise that the rules of the game for Rachel's involvement were something different. Having established that, it became a guessing game, giving no regard to the letters she has chosen to represent her idea.

There are times when it seem that God is playing this game with us, yet playing by different rules. We yearn to hear his voice, to discern his guidance, but in spite of every effort, the answer seems elusive. But this is not due to God's malevolence. He who is the living word is by nature able to be heard, to be understood, for communication is of his essence. The problem lies in our inability at times to see what God sees.

You may remember playing a game similar to the one outlined above. Sometimes you choose an object which is in your view, but which disappears for a while. Knowing that it will come back into view, you allow the others to eliminate alternatives, knowing that when the right object reappears, they may more easily identify it. Similarly, one key to identifying the will of God is being able to identify that which is not his will.

Maybe God does play by different rules than we are used to playing. In order to more effectively understand his will, we need to learn how he speaks, and the things he might say.

Which brings us back to the Bible afresh: where we can see what God has done, get an idea of how his heart moves, and how his will unfolds.

It is not God's plan to play a cruel trick on us in order to keep us from knowing him, or his will for our lives. He longs for us to know, and be known.

July 2, 2000
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