THE KEY TO NOTHING (Is there really an answer to all your problems?)

If someone ever tells you, “I have the key to your health, to your happiness, to your success, to your marriage . . .” walk away. In fact, run away.

imageThere is no single key.

Frankly, when a pastor, teacher, or counselor says he or she has all the answers to any problem, I get very nervous. If I know anything about anything, it’s that I actually know nothing about a lot.

After over 40 years of marriage, I’m still figuring it out. In fact, about the time I think I finally know something about my wife, she changes! (And she would say the same about me.)

I’ve been a parent for 37 years and a grandparent for 9 years, but my children still baffle me at times. (And they would say the same about me.)

I’ve been a pastor for about 35 years, and I’m still grasping for answers most of the time. Of course I understand the core of my faith, but there are plenty of things that remain uncertain in my theology. The more I learn about God and the Word, the more I realize how much I still need to know.

If you’re looking for the all-knowing-Yoda pastor, husband, or father, keep looking. I ain’t him.

And if my true confession regarding my ignorance concerns you, welcome to the club. I don’t like it either.

However:

  • The upside to not knowing everything is that I’m still growing and learning.

  • The benefit of being ignorant at times is that I still enjoy the process of discovery. (Besides, ignorance truly is bliss on occasion.)

  • The blessing of not having all the answers is that it keeps me humble and dependent. I still need God. I still need others.

  • The advantage of having the key to nothing is it keeps me focused on the only One who truly does have all the keys.

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One of the biggest hindrances to healthy relationships with others is arrogance. Nobody likes a cocky know-it-all. When we act like we know everything, we tend to alienate everybody.

I suggest that it’s better to say:

  • I don’t know it all, my love, but I know I need you.

  • I don’t have all the answers, my friend, but it’s better if we figure this out together.

  • I don’t understand all the mysteries of this life, God, but that’s why You are God, and I am not.

So maybe—and I say maybe because I may not know what I’m talking about—maybe the real answer to all my problems starts with admitting my inadequacies.

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Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, being humble and childlike is simply owning my limitations.

By the way, the other side of this coin is the fact that God seems to delight in showing Himself strong through the weak.

Sounds like a good deal to me. I own my need. He shows up.

Choose well. Live well. Be well.

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You might also be interested in my newest book for children: Pete the Prodigal Pumpkin! A Good News Halloween Story.

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