How? We do not know

A worker expects his wages as his due, but what farmer takes for granted the new crop sprouting in his field? Jesus used this image to explain how the Father is at work silently and imperceptibly. ‘Night and day, while the farmer sleeps, while he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.’ (Mark 4:27).

There is a type of change that is permanent and for the better. The farmer works and we work. And the change happens, ‘how, we do not know.’ There are changes taking place today not as a result of someone’s clear plan and action but because lots of people are bumbling along trying to do their best without knowing what the result will be.

The present crisis in the Eurozone is far removed from Africa but, of course, whatever happens will affect us. At the moment no one in Europe seems to know what to do to solve the crisis. All the politicians and financial experts are running around trying to convince each other what action to take.

It is the same with Zimbabwe. No one knows what is going to happen. Lots of good-minded people – and some not so nobly minded – are running around with their ideas about what should happen. Again, a solution will come partly as a result of the efforts of all the people, who are now doing what they can, and partly because God knows how to use our human efforts to bring about ‘the kingdom’ in Zimbabwe.

He is committed to working with us, not behind us or in front of us. That is why it is taking so long: we are all so out of tune with Him.In the passage above, Mark puts ‘while he sleeps’ before ‘while he is awake.’ Perhaps God can work better when we are out of the way and not messing things up!

A third example – after the Eurozone and Zimbabwe – could be the Catholic Church in the UK. There is a retreat centre, run by Catholics, in Wales. These centres traditionally were run by Catholics for Catholics. But last year for the first time there were more Anglicans, Lutherans and Pentecostals attending than Catholics. The staff are rejoicing, not because they are bringing other churches into their net – but because the barriers between the churches are breaking down and together they are building something new. What that is we do not yet know. But God knows.

Contrary to conventional wisdom about strategic plans and known outcomes, human endeavour seems to flourish best when people are true to what they think is for the best without really knowing what the outcome will be. How will turn out, we do not know.

Post published in: Faith

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