About fifteen years ago my wife and I took a vacation to St. Louis, Missouri. We were living in London, Ontario at the time and I was working shift work in a call centre. When we transitioned off of the night shift we were usually given 3 days off to rest and reset before we were asked to come in on a day shift. But by some fluke of scheduling it so happened that I was given 5 days off.
We were newly married at the time and hadn’t yet taken a honeymoon so with this extra time we decided to pack up the car and see how far we could get and what we could see. Well my wife is big Little House on the Prairie fan and she had always wanted to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Mansfield Missouri. That’s only about a 10 hour drive from London so I being the good husband that I am, agreed. On our way down we stopped and stayed for a day in St. Louis and went to the Gateway Arch.
The Gateway Arch is a massive steel structure that serves as a monument to all the American pioneers who passed through St. Louis on their way to open up the west. St. Louis was the last chance to stock up on supplies before heading out in to the frontier. Once you crossed the Mississippi river at St. Louis, you were on your own.
As I stood under the Gateway Arch and looked up at this incredible mass of steel and glass rising into the sky I remember thinking to myself, “I sure hope the engineers knew what they were doing when they built this.” That is of course a ludicrous thought considering that the Gateway Arch has stood on that spot for over 50 years. I certainly didn’t need to understand the math or the physical construction work that went into the structure to confidently stand under it. All I really needed to do was submit to the idea that someone else did.
I was recently reminded of the fact that at least in part that is what the word “understand” means; to stand under and submit to knowledge that you may not fully grasp. Understanding therefore is an act of submission to truth, not dominance over it and you can understand something without knowing exactly how it works.
That’s how it is with God.
I understand God, in that I stand under Him. I submit to Him. I know that God is Love and that my life must reflect that love back on the world. I submit to that fact and that command, even when I don’t fully grasp it. I know it to be true even if I don’t know how it works.
That may sound nonsensical to you. But if you’re being honest I bet there are a number of “facts” that you stand under without understanding them in the traditional sense. Each and every one of us live every day in submission to something that we don’t fully grasp. We base our understanding on evidence and observation not on knowledge of how things work together to achieve the result.
What are some truths that you are submitted to? What do you stand under in your life?