Talk to Me About That

Writing over at The Glorious Table today about the gap that so often exists between how we think and how God thinks. See below for a preview or link to the full post here.

In college, I ran through several majors. To be more explicit, I ran through seven majors. At one point, I was an elementary education major. But it turns out you can’t just think kids are cute and be a teacher. You have to like kids and want to educate them. I figured out rather quickly that I did not have either of these traits. I transferred to another major shortly after that.

However, even during my short tenure as an elementary education major, I absorbed some important lessons about kids. One of the most salient was regarding their artwork. I remember distinctly learning not to interpret a kid’s artwork for them by saying something like, “Oh! What a nice picture of a dog!” only to have them potentially collapse in tears, “That’s not a dog, that’s a horse!” Instead, my instructors taught us to say, “Well done! Talk to me about that,” so the child received our attention, our enthusiasm, and the opportunity to explain their creation from their own perspective.

Fast-forwarding to now, I am a parent myself, and I have a creative daughter. This child is forever painting, sketching, or “theater-ing”. While sometimes I can clearly see what she has drawn or understand her stories, sometimes I cannot. Once she explains these things to me, I think, “Phew, I’m so glad I asked. I totally had that one wrong.” The lesson I learned all those years ago to say, “Talk to me about that,” has proved useful again and again.

How Wide Is the Gap in Our Interpretations?

As I was reflecting on this advice for interpreting kids’ creations, it occurred to me that there is a strong parallel between those scenarios and faith. I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “Huh, I wonder what this means? How am I supposed to interpret this?” Or, less wisely, “Oh, this must mean God is saying yes (or no).” I can think of no place more important than our faith where we ought to regularly check in with the creator and say, “Hey God! Talk to me about that.”

Anne Rulo The Glorious Table Talk to Me About That

It seems important to review more than a few lines in Scripture that talk about the distance between God’s plan or thoughts and our ability to interpret them (emphasis mine):

  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV).
  • “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (Ps. 147:5 NIV).
  • “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Prov. 16:9 NIV).
  • “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom” (Isa. 40:28 NIV).
  • And, maybe most clearly said, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord, ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).

When Is Asking for God’s Interpretation Important?

The short answer to this question is “always.” But, for the sake of real-life application, here are some times when God’s message may seem obvious, but we would benefit from checking in to make sure our interpretation is correct.

  1. When it seems like an obvious win or loss.
  2. When we’re suffering.
  3. When we’re sailing along.

To read the full explanation of these three examples, link here for the full post.

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