Prayer for the day
Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the LORD.
Scripture for the day
Here are two stories that are so dissimilar we may wonder how both belong in the same scriptures. One chronicles the story of Samson, God’s strong man, who kills all the Philistines in one herculean push of some pillars. The other tells the story of the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant.
There is one common thread that links these stories, however. That common thread is the mysterious will of God.
God doesn’t always do the smart thing, according to me. God rarely does the thing I think God SHOULD do. In so many stories in the scriptures and in my life, and probably in yours, it seems that God is working from a script that’s been torn up and pasted together after being scrambled.
In the story of Samson, it would make sense for God to stop up Samson’s mouth, or at least to give him a source of strength that’s not quite so vulnerable. Or God should’ve just picked someone a little more righteous than this philandering good-for-nothing “world’s strongest man” contender. Maybe someone with a little wisdom, or forethought, or someone who could at least control his manly urges long enough to do something useful.
In the story of the centurion, Jesus goes out of his way to help a man who is oppressing his people. A ROMAN! And Jesus not only helps him, he commends the man on his tremendous faith. What is God doing? The thing to do with Romans is drive them away, preferably after they’ve been slaughtered. Instead, Jesus helps.
The common thread in these stories is that God’s help and God’s choice seem not to depend on worthiness or even on fitness. God’s help and God’s choice reside solely in the mind and will of God alone. God is working from a different script (thank God)…one that sees the end from the beginning, one that will seek the best for us regardless of our ideas of best, as misguided as we are.
And that truly is comforting.