“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.”
Why? How does that work? Why does this happen? Whose fault is it? What will it look like? How can I trust you? Why? Where will I be in ten years? How do you know? Can you explain this to me? What does this mean? Why? Why? Why?
Sometimes, I think I know the answers, and I like to offer my advice. I am constantly desiring to learn more and share that knowledge with others. Guess you might call me a nerd, and I’m good with that! Yet, I’m a far cry from a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. Lately, I have found myself thinking or saying more often than not, “I don’t know.” Oh, how I hate that response. I don’t like to hear it and I certainly don’t like to give it. I want answers, lots of answers, to all my questions.
Last year, I read a popular book that was recently made into a movie. While, I was pleasantly surprised by the biographical story and eager to read more about this family and the lessons they had learned through their experience, I kept wondering . . . Wondering if there were some questions we just weren’t supposed to be able to answer? I had been thinking about heaven then and the glory and wonder it holds. This is what Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians: “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (2:9).
It is only human nature to try and figure things out. It is this desire that gave us things like the light bulb and airplanes. As a young expectant mother, I tried to read everything I could get my hands on about parenting. After several years of babysitting, classes and study, I thought I was prepared. So funny! Little did I know! Experience was my best teacher!
James tells us that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). I think God wants us to have a desire for more—to know Him and His word better. He encourages us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). He promises that those who hunger for righteousness will be filled and if we seek, we will find (see Matthew 5:6 and 7:7). So what happens when we come to the end of ourselves and we still don’t have an answer? What do we do when we have looked diligently for an explanation or a solution only to come up empty handed? Does it mean that we have been looking in the wrong places or that there isn’t an answer to be found?
You might be surprised that I don’t know the correct response to those questions . . . and so many more. What do I know? What can we know for sure? God is good. We can trust Him. He will always do the right thing. He is always just. He is always merciful. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He is sovereign. He is loving, compassionate and abundantly gracious. “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8). The writer of Psalms records this statement at least five other times in this one book alone. What does it look like for someone to be completely just and completely merciful? How can we wrap out minds around an all-powerful, sovereign God in the face of senseless tragedy and heartache? I don’t know. My human, finite mind cannot fathom all that God is and does. After all, He is God. He ALONE is God, and I KNOW I can trust Him. If this were not so, then I would be one living without hope, purpose and a future. The entire foundation of my faith and purposes of my ministry would be a façade. The Bible would be equal to a book of lies. Yet, even in the midst of the unanswerable questions, I see God’s hand at work. I look to the heavens and see the majesty of His creation. I see changed lives. I have watched His word speak hope into a hopeless situation, and I have been given a peace that cannot be explained. The fact of the matter is our thoughts and our words are too small to contain the greatness and wholeness of God. Which means, sometimes, we will be left with unanswered questions and a decision to trust Him or turn away.
The book of Job is a terribly complex book. It is not easy reading and not for the faint of heart, but it is an incredibly crucial book. I am so glad God included it in His letter to us! A book about suffering, friendship, questions and . . . answers? Look closely at God’s response to Job. God turned the questions back to Job and reminded him to Whom he was talking, but God never explained to Job why it all happened. We, as the readers, have the privilege of seeing the whole picture, from beginning to painful middle to blessed end. However, when God chose to respond to Job, He did not comfort him with purpose of his tragedy or the hope of his future; He simply reminded him Who was in charge. Sometimes, I think God does the same thing with us. Sometimes, I think we are supposed to dig deep, ask the hard questions and then think wow, what an awesome and mighty God we serve! I believe that one day, at the end of his life on earth, Job got the answers he had been looking to find. I believe that when he crossed over into the glory of Heaven, it all became clear. Those things that seemed so terrible and so devastating then, paled in comparison to the eternity that now stood before Him. I can’t even imagine! But I’m going to enjoy trying!
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12, emphasis mine