Sirach 8: 1-14: Perplexity
Last year we took a look at Sirach 18 and 19 to focus on the idea of living within our spiritual means much like we strive to stay with our financial means or our physical limitations. We reflected on the idea of having high expectations of ourselves without stressing ourselves beyond our capacity. As the ancient Eastern proverb says, All things in moderation. As my Dad used to say, All things, even if they are good things, become bad things when we take them too far. And that brings us to today, when we ponder this: When human beings have finished they are just beginning, and when they stop, they are still perplexed. The writer Jesus ben Sirach also gives us this to think about: What are human beings, and of what use are they? What is good in them, and what is evil? We are also told: The Lord has patience with us because he sees that we are miserable.
We may or may not agree with these ideas. We may or may not like the idea that we spend much of our human existence being perplexed. In communion with our God, we may wish to have more answers, to be more prepared, to receive more information . . . but this is not what our maker expects. God expects that we go to him when we are in difficult places in our lives – as small children go to their parents – to place their trust in God’s providence.
I have spent my prayer time this weekend with Sirach and today I open scripture to arrive again at a seminal idea in this book: That we are created to love and to be loved, and that God asks us to walk with him, trusting that he knows how and where we are in every moment of our existence.
Being perplexed is not a bad thing when we take our confusion to God before anyone else. We can remind ourselves of this each time we feel at sea, each moment we experience negative feelings, each hour we spend in grief.
Being perplexed is not a bad thing when we remember that we are children of God . . . and that this God wishes us every good.
A Favorite from August 31, 2009.