Let me preface this piece by saying I don’t know! There are a myriad of questions that I think naturally arise from the title and I just want to put it out there that I do not know. I’ve been dubbed inquisitive for most of my life, a trait that has led to many opened doors as well as many cold shoulders, yet it seems to just be who I am. So, naturally in my quest to follow Jesus, I’ve battled with the trusting-through-unanswered-questions feature of this journey.
I’ve found myself in dark nights of the soul questioning God, yet emerging in the morning with new grace to trust and love Him. I consider any pursuit in knowing and understanding God an extreme sport, as we’re consistently reminded that His ways are higher than ours. So, here goes an inconclusive exploration of my thoughts and reflections. I pray that through His divine providence He would grant us appreciation of His character through this article.
Hard times, hard questions
Does God want to be understood? Especially in the way humans inherently desire to be understood? Is my desire to receive an explanation for each event concerning my life unfounded entitlement? These are questions that have come up for me, predictably against the backdrop of hard situations I’ve encountered.
This year has been an interesting year for me, with peaked sensitivity to hardships around me, though not directly happening to me. I’ve become quite acquainted with sadness and at the risk of sounding like I’ve lived a perfect life, this was once a foreign emotion. I remember earlier this year, telling God that I want to be rooted and grounded in His love and be able trust His sovereignty especially in rough seasons.
So now here we are, where the fickleness of my heart has been revealed as I almost pompously demand an explanation for every “bad” thing that happens. Layers of distrust began to form over my heart. I believed that in the context of a relationship with God, He would be obligated to clarify why He allowed what He allowed, for the sake of me understanding Him.
You have some explaining to do!
With a chronic obsession with things making sense and answers being given, I’ve battled with God just doing what He wants with no accountability! Or insufficient reasoning for what He does. Yes! These are the ill-mannered thoughts I was having towards God and I’m still working them out with Him. Needless to say, I wasn’t very pleased.
Then I would read stories like the children being eaten by bears for mocking Elisha, or a man being blind for all his life and his healing being just for God’s glory and then the story of Job. In my mind, many times the crime doesn’t merit the punishment nor does the reward justify the hardship. These, along with stories much closer to home, many times leaves me to demand an explanation from God.
Understanding and knowledge
Does God want to be understood? When I ask this, it is with the knowledge that I can’t fully understand Him with my finite mind. But isn’t part of this journey a quest to find deeper insight into His nature? Knowledge is seen as an accumulation of information while understanding speaks more to meaning and interpretation.
I believe God wants to be known and understood, but it appears to be within some boundaries. These boundaries are where the tension arises. The tension interestingly points out more of our human flaws than it makes an indictment on Him. There are some eternal truths that I believe we can cling to that will help us navigate this rough terrain. God is good, His nature is unchanging, He desires glory and He is more interested in our character being formed than us being comfortable.
I’ve resolved to contend for belief and wrestle with doubt using the only ammunition I have - faith. Faith in the goodness and immutability of His character. This places more emphasis on His glory and things working out for me by His standard of goodness, rather than me coasting through life.
Jhonelle is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.