From the Pulpit – April 18, 2021
Omaha World Herald
Reverend Eric L. Jay
One of the most powerful questions in the world is the question “why?”
Police detectives know that discovering “why?” a crime was committed provides the key to solving a case. “Why?” is what drives the highest levels of learning just as it fuels our continued discovery of the endless knowledge God has put in His created universe. “Why?” also has the amazing power to lighten the spirit and brighten a day with laughter. For example, why do feet “smell” and noses “run”? Why do we think pressing harder on a tv remote might charge its dying batteries? Why is the word abbreviated so long?
Asking “why?” can also lead to harm if not held in check, especially when it comes to knowing the eternal God and Creator of all things whose ways are above those of sinful, finite humans. A Creator must be above and beyond His created. Any being worthy of being called God must be, as David says in Psalm 139, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”
David is celebrating not what he understands about God, but rather, what God knows of him. David is not celebrating an answer to the question “why?” but “who?” More important than our knowledge of God is His perfect knowledge of us. Why? Well, let’s be honest. We don’t understand ourselves very well. We too often fail to live in accordance with our own expectations, doing what we don’t want to do. As the prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
The women who came with the intent to prepare the physical and dead body of our Lord for permanent burial on Easter morning were asked by the angels who had rolled away the tombstone, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” If we want to see Jesus, if we want to see our Holy God, we will not see Him by looking with the sinful eyes in our head and we will not see Him by looking according to the broken understanding of human intellect. We must look with the eyes of faith, trusting like a little child, not in our understanding but in who it is we are asking. So, Jesus says, praying to God in Luke 10, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”