If you ever have all the answers, God will have resigned and you’ll be in charge of the universe.
JUNE 9, 2022
Matt Heard: If you ever have all the answers, God will have resigned and you’ll be in charge of the universe. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
If you suffer too long under a do more, try harder religion. Key life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free. Steve invited Matt Heard to teach us this week. Find more from Matt at ThriveFullyAlive.com. He’s a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and author.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. Well, what a great week it’s been. We’ve been unpacking this whole notion that our days make a difference because our days are part of a week, part of a month, part of a year, part of a decade, part of a lifetime, and our lifetimes are part of history, which is really his story, as some people have talked about. But for me to really taste the significance of the gospel means experiencing the significance of my story on a daily basis. So, we’ve been talking about that, engaging your story on Mondays and Wednesdays, and we’ve been letting Psalm 84 be our guide, starting with verse five.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
With that verse, we looked at key number one to engaging with my life story. And it’s seizing the plot. I’m part of a pilgrimage. There’s a destination involved and that destination is God’s glory, one day will cover the earth again, as the waters cover the sea. And each day the tide’s advancing. And so, in all my journey, I’m participating in that agenda of his glory. The next verse, second key. First part of verse six.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca.
Key number two to engaging with my life story is to steward the pain. I don’t go around the valley. I go through the Valley of Baca, the valley of tears. Key number three is the second part of verse six.
They make it a place of springs. The autumn rains also cover it with pools.
Key number three is to experience the beauty. They took the Valley of Baca and they intentionally made a choice, to make it a place of springs. So, today we come to the fourth key in this passage. That fourth key that enables me to really experience, to taste, to engage with my life story. And it’s, embrace the mystery. Embrace the mystery is key number four, and here’s the verse, verse 7.
They go from strength to strength; until each appears before God in Zion.
I love that phrase.
They go from strength to strength.
I don’t know if you like mystery novels or not. I love them. And a lot of times the reason we like mystery novels is because they get solved at the end. That’s the whole point of reading a mystery novel is the satisfaction that comes of having all those questions answered. Don’t you wish our lives were that simple, but they’re not. We don’t always get the answers. And as a result, it produces disappointment and there’s stress involved. I don’t know if you’re one of these people in the high suspense movies, not at the theater, but if you’re at home, do you like to fast forward through the stressful stuff? Kind of hit the fast forward button. There’s no fast forward button in our journeys. We have to take it as it comes and we can’t fast forward to the end where there’s a nice, neat ending. So, what do we do if there’s no fast forward button? What do we do when we’re not guaranteed answers in a day, a week or a year? What did this community of God’s people do? Again, I’m going to go back to that phrase. They go from streaming. To strength. So they’re going through this valley of tears. They’re turning it into a place of beauty and they’re going from strength to strength. Strength, to strength, not answer to answer. Lot of us want to go from answer to answer. We like having answers. And this whole notion of saying my strength is in you O God. We say that, but really what we feel is our strength is in having the answers. As a result, we’re often tempted to worship answers more than we worship Jesus. I think it was Larry Crabb who said.
Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.
Those, I don’t knows that you’ve got in your life, they produce mystery. And here’s the power of the gospel, where Jesus says.
In this world you’ll have trouble.
Remember John 16:33, we looked at it. The take heart, what am I taking heart in, having the answers? No, taking heart in the fact that he’s overcome. Taking heart in the fact that he’s enough. Many years ago, I studied in Switzerland at a place called L’Abri that was headed up by a gentlemen named Francis Schaeffer and his wife, Edith. And I arrived right after the Schaeffer’s had discovered his diagnosis of cancer. In fact, I got there on a Saturday and on Monday they arrived from Mayo Clinic. So, he was processing that as he’s walking with us as students. And there were a couple of times during the week that we would have discussion times where Schaeffer would come into the chalet that was on the side of the mountain, up in the Alps. And you’d have this room filled with about a hundred students sitting on the floor and he would come in and as soon as he came in, all the chatter would subside and everybody would get quiet while he sat down on a pillow on the hearth with a roaring fire behind him. There was a pot of tea, always there. He would pour a cup of tea. It would be silent enough in the room that everybody would hear the tea hitting the mug. And then he would say questions and people could ask anything. And those were powerful times to hear him process and think out loud. But there was one Scandinavian student who is a philosophy student. He was also doing some science majors. He was in the midst of his university studies, not a believer. About 60% of us, I would say were believers. And the other 40 were not. And all questions were welcomed. Well, this Scandinavian student, said Dr. Schaeffer, why God? That was his question. Why God? And everybody started snickering and Schaeffer got pretty upset and he said, quiet. Of course, everybody got quiet. And then when he knew the room was once again, quiet enough for everyone to hear his answer. He looked at this young man in the eye and he said three words that I remembered decades later. I don’t know? I don’t know? He paused for a moment. And then he said, next question. Well, about two weeks later that young man, he and I had gotten to talk to one another. We became friends. He ended up believing Christ as King and as Savior. And acknowledging the gospel. And I actually asked him over a meal. I said, so what happened? I mean, what, was there a pivot point that, you’ve been an atheist for much of your life? And now all of a sudden, you’ve become a Jesus follower? What clicked? He said, well, it’s accumulation of a lot of things, but probably, the pivot moment for me would be the other night in the chapel during the Q & A, when Dr. Schaeffer answered my question with, I don’t know? He said, you know what, because he says of all the religious people I’ve ever encountered, seemed to suppose they had all the answers. And we all know that this world is bigger than our ability to have all the answers. And his honesty in saying he didn’t know, it was really like the final piece in the puzzle for me. You know, we like mystery, but for some reason we don’t like it in our own lives. But when we will be honest about the, I don’t knows, they actually can be the place where we find God. And sometimes it’s not pleasant. It’s not, we say, I don’t know. And we’re enjoying that, sometimes there’s angst in it. You go through the Psalms and there’s some people that say, I was actually with the Schaeffer’s at a conference and where they were asking questions and talking about the fallenness of this world. And a woman said, I think I’m going to have to, she lined up and waited to talk to him afterwards. And she said, you know, this has been kind of depressing for me. We’ve been talking about all this sin and fallenness and stuff. I’m going to have to go home and cheer myself up and read some Psalms. And Dr. Schaeffer said, well, be careful which Psalms you choose because there are a lot of lament Psalms. We’ve lost the art of lament, you know, Psalm 13, how long O Lord. Psalm 25:16.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I’m lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied.
In other words, there are no easy answers. There’s bruises in the midst of the beauty and there’s brokenness in the midst of what we would like to say is a life that’s free of pain and it’s not. Isaiah 55 verse 8 says.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
You know, bottom line, what he’s saying there is you’re not God, I am. Trust me. Trust me with your I don’t knows. For me to engage with my story means that I’m going to be embracing the mystery. And instead of relying, only on answers, I’m relying on him. Psalm 56 verse 8 says.
You’ve kept count of my tossings and you put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book? The NIV says, list my tears on your scroll, but it could also be rendered.
Put my tears in your wineskin.
If you’re somebody who knows wine, you know there’s a bitterness to the Tannin in wine that softens over time. And that Tannin that’s in the stems and the seeds and the skins, but it’s what gives the wine the structure, but you lay a wine down and great wines that age. It’s those Tannins that are growing softer. And I want you to bring to mind those tears that you’ve got in your journey. See God is collecting those in his wineskin. And over the course of time, he’s softening those Tannins. And one day, he’ll return that pain to us, redeemed and restored. And so, only encouragement, today, tomorrow, and the rest of your lives and engage with your life story. And don’t be deterred by the pain and the brokenness, but be gripped by the gospel. And as a result, I hope you thrive today.
Thanks Matt. That was our friend Matt Heard wrapping up an amazing week of teaching from Psalm 84:5 through 7, about how we can more fully live out our stories, such good stuff. If you missed any day, be sure to catch those episodes for free at Keylife.org. Steve will return tomorrow along with our friend Pete Alwinson for Friday Q&A. Hope you will join us. So, we know we should pray, but sometimes, I don’t know, it’s hard. If you thought you were alone and feeling that, you are not. And that’s why I want to tell you about a CD called The Tenacity in Prayer. This is a conversation between Steve and Pete based on Steve’s book called Approaching God. If you ever find yourself reluctant to pray, afraid to pray, maybe you just don’t know what to pray. Then get your copy of this CD right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an e-mail to Ste[email protected] to ask for that CD. By mail, send your request to
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