If you understand, it is not God

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Andrew Amanor SVD (Philippines)

Tuesday Lent Week 5
Nm 21:4-9
John 8:21-30

St. Augustine once said, “Si comprehendus, non est Deus,” which means “If you understand, it is not God.” Our first reading portrays this fundamental thought of Saint Augustine.   

The Israelites have traveled for some time now and they have high hopes that they are closer to the promised land. However, they would have to go through the territory  of the Edomites before they can reach their destination. Though they believe they can defeat the Edomites, here comes Moses telling them to change route. This meant they would go round the Edomites without having any confrontation with them (at least for now). 

This change in direction has tremendous adverse effects on them including longer distance, weakened morale and obviously dwindling supply of food and water. This was all that is perceived, the “negatives.” They think they have finally understood the plan of God in their lives because they are close to the land; little do they realize that “if you understand, it is not God.” God wants them to learn something bigger than just occupying the land and that is PATIENCE. 

Learning how to be patient in life is  bigger and more important than being in a hurry to push our way through life with our eyes only focused on the short term gains. Patience is everlasting and will guide generations of other Israelites after them.

This too is our experience sometimes. There will be moments when we will be broken and confused. That is actually the moment when God changes our lives so we can   learn values that will last forever. Shalom.



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