We all know what people mean when they say, “It’s not rocket science.” It’s a slightly sarcastic way of saying, “Any simpleton should be able to understand this.”
But what about when something actually is rocket science? In that case, we’re talking genius IQs, right?
In our house we just finished watching the 2020 remake of The Right Stuff. Based on the non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff brings us into the world of the people behind the beginnings of NASA and the dangers and excitement of man’s first launch into space. Even though the series focuses on the astronauts and their fame among the American people, I kept hoping they’d also throw a parade for the engineers. To be able to imagine, design, and build rockets that brought men to the moon and back — not to mention the intricate teamwork required — is absolutely mind-boggling.
But here’s something even more astounding: As much as we can all admire the intelligence of everyone at NASA, God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).
Let’s not miss the help God is giving all of us who want to be transformed. Can you see how these verses help us dismantle autonomy and nurture humility? In my flesh, I’m tempted to think I know what I need. An attitude of autonomy drives me to act as if I’m perfectly able to meet my needs my own way.
Like when I see my perpetually thin husband eat two cups of ice cream every night, I’m tempted to think — against all painfully obvious evidence to the contrary — my metabolism should be able to handle that too.
In those moments, humility and right thinking grow when I remember the context of verses 8 and 9; they come after an urgent plea to come to him, to listen to him, and to find deep satisfaction in a covenant relationship with him. After inviting us to a banquet at his table, God says, “let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7; emphasis added).
Did you see that? God urges the unrighteous man to forsake his thoughts. How is that possible? Only when we remember what God says will give us true satisfaction:
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live …” (Isaiah 55:1–3).
Even with my earth-bound thoughts, I can understand that invitation. It’s for my soul to live, to find delight in the Lord. And I want that. More than ice cream. Way more. That is what he’s offering. Count me in.