Humanity loves to feel in control of the world. We plumb ocean depths and soar to the heavens.

But this over-confidence causes us grief.

In the 4th century B.C., the ancient Phrygians were without a king. The oracle decreed that the next man who arrived in the town on an oxcart would be king.

A peasant farmer named Gordias entered and was named king of the city.

In his honor, Gordias’ son tied an oxcart to a post with an intricate knot. As one historian described it, “it was several knots all so tightly entangled that it was impossible to see how any of them were tied.’

Then Alexander the Great arrived. He had conquered the region. The same oracle that years before had proclaimed the king’s identity said that the man who would untie the knot would become the ruler of all Asia.

Alexander had his eye on the prize and knew nothing could stop him. But the twisted knot defied his abilities. Finally, in anger, he drew his sword and cut the knot.

We all face our “Gordian knot,” those things in life that confuse and confute, something impossible to untie. Yet, we can manage our own lives and make our own decisions. And we find ourselves in worse condition from our lack of knowledge.

Isaiah observed, amid terrible suffering,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “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)

God knows the things that perplex us most. He can untie the knots the drive humans to distraction.

When life overwhelms, remember we are tied with Gordian’s knot. The only one who can untie it is someone with greater wisdom than ourselves.

-Robert G. Taylor-