You have to laugh at the woman who prayed to St Anthony whenever she lost anything. She couldn’t find her car keys and kept asking St Anthony for his help, becoming more and more frustrated while they were still missing. She began to get annoyed with St Anthony until she eventually found the keys and then said to him, ‘never mind. I’ve found them now!’

They do say that the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans. There’s nothing wrong with having plans, of course, but sometimes God has a very different knowledge of how our life is going to turn out. God doesn’t think like us and his ways are vastly different from ours. Isaiah tells us that the gap between our way of thinking and God’s is greater than the gap between heaven and earth. And Jesus puts the finishing touch to this by his story of a landowner who paid everyone the same wage no matter how many hours a day they had worked. Why should people be jealous just because God is generous?

One of the hardest things for many Christians to understand is that no matter how much we try, we never even come close to knowing how God works. What seems fair to us, God ignores. What seems to be the obvious choice is overlooked, what appears to be the only solution is bypassed by God.

This side to God’s character is known as his transcendence. It’s the ‘otherness’ of God, the fact that God is unfathomable, that we can’t ever capture his vital statistics (or even hers if we’re being honest).

When we stop trying to think that we can control things in this world by enlisting God on our side, then we begin to learn. Once we accept how little we know about God’s ways then we’re really on the road to approaching him. Once we reach the point where we simply invite God into our lives and ask him to act for the good, with no conditions attached, then we have a chance of allowing the Spirit to make us holy. God is greater than anything we can imagine or conjure up, and once we grasp this then as well as some mystifying events in our lives there are also a few very pleasant surprises along the way.


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