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A WORD FOR TODAY, March 27, 2023
“They wandered in the wilderness in a desert way. They found no city to live in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses, he led them also by a straight way, that they might go to a city to live in. Let them praise Yahweh for his loving kindness, for his wonderful deeds to the children of men!” Psalm 107:4-9, WEB
I once read an article that had a list of ten riddles. Some of the answers were ridiculously simple, but the questions were challenging for even the most intelligent people. The riddles were almost too simple; I know I over thought, searching for the answers. One question was “Where can anybody but you sit?” I felt foolish when I did not think of my own lap, but now that I know the answer I’m not likely to fall for that riddle again. Some required some knowledge like, “Why didn’t William Howard Taft run for a third term as President?” The answer is that he didn’t run for a second term. Perhaps if I were more knowledgeable about the Taft presidency, that answer would have come simply.
I struggled with another easy one: “How can you throw a ball so it will reverse direction and return to you without the ball bouncing against or touching any solid object?” I wondered if a sharp twist to the wrist would put the right spin on the ball, but then I looked at the answer. I groaned. Throw it straight up in the air; the effects of gravity will bring it right back to you. The easiest, but perhaps hardest of all the questions was “If Betsy Ross were living today, what would she be most noted for?” I thought to myself, “How can we know, she may have accomplished a great many things.” The answer is: “Her age.” Yes, that makes sense, for if she were still alive today, she’d be hundreds of years old.
Riddles can be silly, and I always feel a little foolish when I don’t come up with the answers right away. The lesson to be learned here, though, is that hindsight is twenty-twenty vision. Would you have gotten the answers if they had not been laid out in this story? Sometimes the simplest riddles are the hardest to grasp.
This is true in matters of faith, too. Think about all the people who are wandering in the wilderness of this world for whom peace and joy are illusive. They seek the meaning of life, unable to find it. They seek fulfillment, most often looking toward relationships, work, or hobbies to satisfy, but never quite finding the thing they long for most of all. There are so many who hunger and thirst, not physically but spiritually, and they do not even know what they are trying to find.
The one question I did get right immediately was “What common mechanical transports in New York City (120,000 of them) carry three times as many passengers daily as all the city’s subways, trains, buses, cars, and taxis combined?” To me the answer was obvious. New York City is filled with skyscrapers and most of the population gets around on foot. Though it is a large city, the people do not travel far to get from place to place. Yet, most of them have to climb many floors. The logical answer to this riddle is a conveyance that goes up and down rather than around the streets: an elevator
What are people’s greatest needs? We need food, shelter, and security. Most of all we need love. Christians have found the answer to the question of life in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. God meets our greatest need with His unfailing love, providing everything we need to survive in this world when we trust in Him. Those who do not know Jesus continue to wander in the desert wasteland that is life in this world. For them, the answer is beyond reach. It is the easiest question to answer because the truth is right in front of us. It is written in the scriptures and in creation. Yet, many continue to hunger and thirst because they do not cry out to the Lord for deliverance.
Is there someone with whom you can share these riddles today? It might be fun to see if they can figure out the answers on their own. More important, however, would be to take the chance to share the Gospel with someone who is longing to be fed the Bread of Life, someone who thirsts for the Living Water. Jesus will grant them the peace and joy they long to grasp after seeking for the answers in all the wrong places.
A WORD FOR TODAY is posted five days a week – Monday through Friday. The devotional on Wednesday takes a look at the scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday. A WORD FOR TODAY is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Word-for-Today-Devotional/339428839418276. Like the page to receive the devotion through Facebook. For information and to access our archives, visit http://www.awordfortoday.org