For my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are my ways your way. Thank God for that. Imagine what it would be like if God’s thoughts and ways were as ours in our relations with one another. We would be in big trouble. Imagine if God were as close minded toward us as we are to those with who are of a different faith, cultural, social or racial background, or different life style, imagine if God was as impatient, unfeeling or unsympathetic as we can sometimes be toward family members or friends who are struggling with their own demons of alcohol or drugs or their mental health issues, imagine if God held the resentments and the grudges we hold when we have a falling out with a family member or neighbour, imagine if God was as indifferent to our needs as we can sometimes be to the needs of those who suffer from hunger and homelessness, imagine if God was too busy to be with us as we can often be too busy to visit a friend in the hospital or in a retirement home, or even make a phone call, imagine if God was as deaf to our prayers as we can sometimes be as we weary of the many calls for assistance that come our way, imagine if God’s thoughts and ways were as our thoughts and ways. Imagine.
Thankfully Isaiah assures us, ‘for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
How do we know the mind of God, how do we know the ways of God? Jesus tells us,’ no one knows the father except the son and those to whom the son choses to reveal him.’ We know the mind of God and the ways of God by the way Jesus lived his life on earth and by what Jesus taught us about the Father. As Jesus said to Thomas, ‘he who sees me sees the Father.’ We know God’s unconditional love for each of us as look on the crucified body of Christ.
When we study the life and ministry of Jesus we know so well that his ways and thoughts are often not the ways we think and not the way we do things. With open arms Jesus said, ‘come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome but we choose our friends, we select the people with whom we associate. How often do we feel, even if we don’t say it; ‘not in my back yard.’? Jesus life was open to everyone, rich or poor, righteous or sinner. We know he challenged the phoniness with which he lived but he admired the honesty of those who could admit they failed, ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner.’ He ate and drank with sinners, he consoled the widows and all who mourn the death of one they loved. He cured the lepers so they could be restored to social and family life. He fed those who hungered with bread and fish, he fed those who hungered for the righteousness of God when turned our value system upside down and declared – blessed are the poor, blessed the gentle, blessed those who mourn, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed the peacemakers, blessed are the persecuted – blessed are all these men and women – theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus challenged us to keep things in perspective when he asked ‘ what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose himself?
As far as the east is from the west so are my thoughts and ways from your thoughts and ways. In one of his letters Paul makes the claim ‘we have the mind of Christ.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could say that of ourselves? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the day would come when we could say, ‘his thoughts, his ways are my thoughts, my ways? That’s something we could strive to achieve. It isn’t easy, it’s a life time struggle but there can be times when, because of the way we handled a situation, the way we welcomed someone into our lives, the way we work to heal old wounds, the way we reached out to someone in need, the way we were with someone in mourning, the way we gave thanks for the gifts with which blesses us – we can say – we have the mind and the heart of Christ. We can pray for ourselves and each other that one day at a time our thoughts and our way come just a bit closer to the thoughts and ways of God.