Thomas E Engel
I was doing some channel surfing and stopped on a documentary about Albert Einstein. It talked a lot about his theory of relativity and how he got it wrong at first and then had to go back to get the correct formulas. Then, it took Einstein a long time to prove his theory because it had to do with the bending of light around the sun and he had to wait for astronomers to take a picture of the sun during an eclipse and this was during WWI, so it was not easy to arrange. His theory was proven, but it took many years for it to happen.
Einstein would spend hours in his study thinking through long formulas in his head. He would think about all the complex problems and all the possible solutions with just his mind and if things got really tough, he would take a walk. He called this time his thought experiments.
I always thought that just sitting and thinking about life was a good way to work out problems. I always liked the verse in the psalms where it talks about being still and knowing that God is God. In a crazy world where life is changing so quickly and in our lives where complex things happen that need our attention like keeping a house budget going where there are bills screaming to be paid and not enough money to cover them and loved ones in our lives needing attention but also having to satisfy the things needed at work, it can all become overwhelming.
We are left feeling inadequate with problems that are over our heads and hearts. It seems that there are no solutions to the problem, even after doing some thought experiments of our own to solutions. This is where anxiousness may set in as we have problems and at the time they seem to be spinning out of control.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus went into the deepest prayer imaginable. He knew he was sent from his Father in heaven to go to the cross and die for the sins of the people. This moment on the night when he was betrayed and denied by those closest to him had him go into a deep prayer asking his Father if his will was for him to die such a painful death.
On this night when he was betrayed and denied by those closest to him he was sad, alone, anxious, and scared that it caused him to sweat and that sweat to fall like they were drops of blood. In this time of prayer and thought, he asked his Father if this cup of suffering was for him to drink. Jesus knew that he must do his Fatherís will and must suffer and die for the sins of all people.
This was all a very complex problem, but it worked out for all sinners as Jesus did go to the cross and die taking the punishment for every sin. It comes down to the fact that Jesus was the perfect lamb of God and as God himself was without sin, so that as also being human he could only do his Fatherís will, even if it meant giving up his very own life.
Although Jesus could only do his Fatherís will and that was the only direction he could go, he had to think it out in a prayer to God. This was his thought experiment. We also as children of God are to do Godís only will.
During the times when we are experiencing sadness, loneliness, and anxiety, it is a good time to go to God in prayer with a thought experiment. At this time, we can look at all the possibilities for solutions to our problems. With God in the thought experiments, we will find that we are to do Godís will. His will might be for us to be patient and be strong in this time as he works out the problem in his time. This time of waiting is our cross to carry, but we can carry it because Christ went to the cross for us already.
In the cross of Christ we have forgiveness of every sin and do not have to feel the guilt and shame of our sins but be free in the grace of God to move forward in our lives to new life.
This new life gives us all kinds of good thought experiments to move forward to new things. Our hopes and dreams then can start to be realized as Godís will for us is carried out and his will is always good for us.
A few years ago during holy week I saw a sign on a pharmacy door that they will be closed from noon to three on Good Friday. I knew it was a family owned business and knew that this was the time that Jesus was on the cross. They were taking time to reflect on his death and what it meant to them as people of faith.
That time on Good Friday is a good time for some thought experiments. It is a good time to especially ponder what it means that Jesus went to the cross to take the shame of the cross, the suffering of the cross, and to die on the cross for us. He did all that so we do not have to.
He worked out for us the complex problem of sin, and because he worked sin out for us and also punishment of eternal death and defeating Satan, we are free to live a new life. Some good thought experimenting leaves us with a lot of good choices to think about as we move to new life because of what Jesus has done for us by doing his Fatherís will.