Faith, reason, and my computer
Believers need to “think through” things according to God’s Word
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Do “faith” and “reason” seem antithetical to you? Could be a bad sign, an indication of an anemic condition of faith-lite that has never had the experience of grappling a situation to the ground by digging deep into God’s Word.
Abraham’s faith was a grueling muscular workout when it had to be. Here is a small window into the patriarch’s private thoughts, revealing his logical processes. You will see that it is not a discipline for sissies:
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding [Greek logisamenos from which we get “logic”] that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Our forefather was practiced in what I like to call “thinking through.” Column A: Killing my own son is the hardest thing God has ever asked me to do. Column B: It is God who asks it, and He has promised me an heir, and He has always been faithful. If He says to sacrifice Isaac, I can only conclude that He will raise him up again after I lay him down. So I will obey Him!
My computer stopped working for a week. Four days in a row I came home to find my husband on the phone with a long-suffering tech support person. I happened to mention the problem to a woman little known to me in the church. She offered to come and have a look. She came, she saw, she conquered—in five minutes.
Here was her reasoning or logikē, which was the most beautiful part: She told me that from the time she heard of my computer woes, God put it on her heart to help me, and she started praying. Claiming to be not particularly good with computers, she nevertheless reasoned that since God was sending her, He would show her how to fix it.
There’s more. She thought about James 1:27, that true religion is “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.” She said to herself, “Well, Andrée is a widow of sorts” (my first husband died in 1999), and “Andrée is an orphan now” (my father died this past December).
Someone might want to quibble with the woman’s reasoning or Scripture application, but I dare say God loved it. Who thinks like that!
I heard a conservative Catholic professor at Boston College admit in a podcast interview that in taking the school’s mandatory sexual conduct training course, he went ahead and affirmed all the LGBT questions he was required to agree with, even though he disagreed—reasoning that he must keep his job so as to maintain a conservative presence on campus. I was sad to hear the way he reasoned that.
It isn’t how the prophet Daniel reasoned his way through the testings life threw up at him (Daniel 6:3-10). Nor his friends (Daniel 3:17-18). Nor Job (Job 13:15). Nor Moses (Hebrews 11:24-26). Nor Mordecai (Esther 4:13-14). Nor Peter, who when tempted again to take the easy way out, bequeathed for posterity’s benefit the process of his reckoning: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge” (Acts 4:19).
Rare is the call of faith that is smooth and easy. Rare is the path of righteousness that is wide and well-paved. The woman who has decided to stay with an unlovable husband, and to do him good and not evil all the days of her life, is not a woman who has settled for the first three pleasant Scriptures.
She has dug into the Word until she’s satisfied that she has found the heart of God. She has put to death the flesh. She has taken captive every thought and cast down every argument that sets itself against the will of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
God has called such people those “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38).
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