As I listened to today's first reading from chapter 54 of Isaiah, I pondered the idea of God changing His mind. This occurred multiple ties in the Old Testament, but never seems to get much consideration today. As I continued my meditation, I wondered if God simply had to learn how to relate to humans by trial and error, just as humans have to learn to relate to God the same way. Perhaps this was one of the greatest benefits of the Incarnation - God became human and experienced first-hand what it means. The Incarnate Word, Jesus, had to learn how to relate to the Father as a human being, and so God learned totally and completely how to relate to human beings. If, in this process, God could change His mind, what about us?
Sometimes we are so stubborn and unbending, refusing to reconsider our position. Whether it is about politics, ecclesiology or the way we wash clothes, we sometimes refuse to change, even when confronted with failure or proof of a better way of doing it. "Those who refuse to learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them" is unfortunately ignored by many people, especially when it comes to prayer. So many of us continue to pray in the same way we did as children. Think about it. Do we relate to anyone in the same way now as we did when we were a child? Even with parents, although we never cease to be their child, the relationship and ways of communicating shift and change as we grow and mature. If this is true, what about our relationship with God? A Lot of people communicate with God as if they were 7 years old, and then wonder why it doesn't seem to work. God forbid anyone suggest a new and different way of praying. "I've prayed this way all my life and I am not about to change!" And then, when they refuse to change their mind, they cannot understanding why they continue to have the same result. This is a recipe for failure if ever I saw one.
The bottom line is: if God could change His mind and learn how to relate better to people, why can't we? If we really want to relate to God in a deeper, more beneficial way, changing our mind may just be the best thing we can do.