"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Solving the Puzzle

Do you ever watch Wheel of Fortune? I’ve never enjoyed the show governed by a wheel, but something happened last week on Wheel of Fortune that grabbed my attention. Contestant Caitlin Burke solved a 27 letter, 7 word puzzle, with only the letter “L” and an “apostrophe” as clues! With Burke’s amazing accomplishment, she received a Caribbean vacation, but also the awe of Pat Sajack, who was completely astounded. It’s not completely unusual for contestants to solve puzzles without many clues, but when they do, the puzzles are much smaller! But a 27 letter, 7 word puzzle; who does that? Some have said that Burke cheated! Was the puzzle solved through cheating or intelligence? I’ll let you be the judge!

But when it comes to religion and understanding the nature of God, sometimes it seems like we are faced with an unsolvable spiritual “puzzle.” Everyone has their own opinions, interpretations, and ideas. Post-Modernism argues that to find the solution, “Solve the puzzle by forming your own image of what it should look like, and make the pieces fit together anyway you can.” As students of God’s word, we know that’s not right. So we respond, “Well, it’s not too difficult to solve the spiritual puzzle. God has given us His word to follow, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can understand it correctly.” However, when the world hears our solution for solving the spiritual “puzzle”, they see us like Caitlin Burke and say, “It can’t be that easy. You need MORE clues to solve THIS puzzle!”

I realize there are some teachings in scripture that are pretty “heavy.” At times, we need the help of scholars to piece the “clues” together for us. Even Peter gave this evaluation of his fellow inspired colleague Paul, “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort…” (2 Peter 3:16) But Karl Barth, one of the most respected and prominent theologians to ever live, brought the “puzzle” into focus for us! In 1962, Barth was lecturing at Princeton, and he was asked, “After everything you have studied and learned, how can you summarize the theological meaning of life?” Barth answered, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so!”

At the end of the day, we can solve the “puzzle” by dwelling on that famous song from our childhood! “Jesus loves me, this I know!” That’s the most profound thing I’ve ever heard!