Seek the Lord while he wills to be found;*
call upon him when he draws near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways*
and the evil ones their thoughts;
And let them turn to the Lord, and he will have compassion,*
and turn to our God, for he will richly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,*
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.
One of the most wonderful and frustrating things about the people I love is that they don’t all or always approach life’s joys, sorrows, and all the things in between on the same cognitive footpath I do. While this isn’t surprising when there are disagreements, it’s equally true when there is agreement.
My husband, sons, siblings, and friends have their own pathways, leading to their own conclusions. Sometimes, these mental paths cross with mine; sometimes they don’t. When we share how we arrived at a particular opinion or conclusion, I catch a glimpse of mental landscapes wholly different from my own.
These glimpses remind me of how very limited my own mental meanderings are – even when they lead to good and fruitful places. There are other ways to come to the same place, and there are other places that I cannot reach from my own paths – the equivalent of you can’t get there from here.
Given the variety of paths and the variety of the places such paths lead, it would be silly of me to assume that how and what I know provide the standard for all of humanity’s hows and whats. That goes at least double for the thoughts of God, who created all of us and everything else to boot.
If I remember this, and if I repeat this truth enough, perhaps it will sink in…
For your thoughts are not my thoughts.
[photos by Jared Fredrickson. For more on this series, click Lent 2021 above.]