Putting God into the equation
As the Easter season draws to a close, we come to a place of transition in the readings of the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
Jesus has risen, appeared many times, and returned to heaven with a promise that He will send an Advocate to help them. As they wait, they must replace the one who was lost. Jesus had many disciples, but the inner circle was very specifically twelve. Reflecting the twelve tribes of Israel, this new kingdom had to be complete in same way.
I think he thing that is so interesting about this is the process they use to select the replacement. The apostles come up with two candidates based on a very specific criteria. The person must have been with them from the time Jesus was baptized by John until He was lifted up to heaven. The apostles had to be eyewitnesses to the life and resurrection of Jesus to have apostolic authority. That was non-negotiable.
However, having narrowed the field down to two, they do something interesting. They don't put it to a vote, but leave it to God and a measure as random as choosing by a roll of the dice. Literally.
How can that be spiritual? It begs the question -
How do we allow God to enter into our decision processes?
I would argue that the apostles did their part of the work. They defined the problem, found suitable candidates, and I'm sure they were praying about it. Then they knew the final decision was not about their intellectual understanding. It was much greater than that, so they took themselves out of the process.
It can seem a little crazy to just let go and let God make the decision through a random event. On the other hand, how many times have we tried to force something to happen, only to discover that we were going the wrong direction the entire time?
There's a balance that we can miss if the only part of this story we see is the part about casting lots. We can leave a final decision up to God's providence, but to get there, we have our own work to do. We need to be centered in prayer, understand what we need, and search for viable solutions.
Then we should ask God to help us make the final decision. I usually use my "door prayer" that I started praying when my oldest daughter was deciding which college to attend:
Lord, You know which option is best for me and for You. Open the door to the one that I need, and close the rest so that I know for sure I am following Your will.
It's worked for me and for everyone I've told about it, in incredible and beautiful ways. Try it and let me know how it goes.
Read it here: Seventh Sunday of Easter
Photo: M Ratton