Eugene Peterson says that pastors ought to be less concerned with running the church and more concerned with “the cure of souls.” He says that one of the things that messes us up, pastors that is, is that we start looking at situations as problems to solve. We start looking for the fixes, the solutions, the strategies, the steps.
- “Take these three verses and call me in the morning.”
- “Try these four things to make your marriage perfect and your kids delightful.”
- “Do this and this and this, it will turn out great.”
I offer solutions all the time. But I’m not sure that’s always helpful. It teaches you and me that everything can be solved by three or four or several steps. And as we saw yesterday in the story of the three friends, some situations aren’t problems to be solved. They are stories to be lived. They are processes that are played out. They are steps of obedience that are the same thing over and over and over and over. Being faithful is doing the same thing regardless of the situation. Finding out that God can provide wisdom means being in confusing situations that require us to call out for wisdom.
I want problems to be solved as much as the next person. But the longer I live, the more I discover that I often don’t even know what the problem is, let alone the solution.
And so I am slowly opening myself up to not having answers. To waiting. To listening. To take the breath that sometimes goes to giving quick answers and slowly releasing it. I still need reminders from Nancy: “Listen to what you tell others.”
Deep down, I trust God. Mostly. And more.