Talking about spiritual matters with a skeptic is always interesting and challenging. As they prod the perimeters of my faith, I am the first to admit that there are some things in life and in the Scripture that defy my understanding. Some Christians are quick to declare that they are beyond doubts, that it all makes sense to them. I am not one of them. The bloody purges of populations during the conquest of the Promised Land are hard to reconcile with God’s love. The idea that God allows people to choose an eternal destiny of darkness separate from His Presence is another difficult truth for me. The famed quip of Mark Twain comes to mind, however. He said, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
As much as I may wonder about a few matters, my faith is strong in what I do know. I am instructed and directed by the wisdom of God about life, love, and faith. How would I live without the promise of the Resurrection that was delivered to us, signed and sealed by our Savior, Jesus Christ? How would I find meaning for my life without the command to love God and others with my whole being? Moses reminded the people of God (and us) of a great principle. “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.” (Deuteronomy 29:29, NLT) Faith includes mystery, things that are beyond explanation, too big for my mind to comprehend. If I insist on making everything about God fit into my mind’s grasp, I will make Him too small.
He asks me to trust Him reminding me of His majesty and wisdom. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT) This is not an excuse for ignorance, foolishness, or superstition. It is humble recognition that at the end of my best efforts at discovery, there are things too big, too mysterious, for me to know.
Because I know He loves me, I will trust Him until that moment when time gives out and I finally know the mysteries of the Eternal One. “But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:10-12, NLT) What a glorious thing. All the questions that nag at us, that try to destroy our faith and hinder our worship, fully answered and our hearts will rest.
Until then, let’s trust and be faithful to what we do know, leaving the secret things to Him.
“Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God,
this deep, deep wisdom?
It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Yes. Yes. Yes.”
(Romans 11:33-36, The Message)
I have made You too small in my eyes,
O Lord, forgive me.
And I have believed in a lie
That You were unable to help me.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong;
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong.
And in my eyes and with my song.
O Lord, be magnified,
O Lord, be magnified!
Be magnified, O Lord.
You are highly exalted.
And there is nothing You can’t do,
O Lord, my eyes are on You.
Be magnified, O Lord,
I have leaned on the wisdom of men,
O Lord, forgive me.
And I have responded to them
Instead of Your light and Your mercy.
But now, O Lord, I see my wrong.
Heal my heart and show Yourself strong,
And in my eyes and with my song,
O Lord, be magnified.
O Lord, be magnified!
Lynn DeShazo © 1991 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI)) CCLI License # 810055