We have all these thoughts about God.
There’s the Old Testament Wrathful-God and the New Testament Servant-God and the God we imagine when we pray. There’s the Father-God we seek to please, and the Friend-God we search out in tough times, and the Creator-God we imagine as we watch the sun set or notice the way birds fly in a V.
For many years, I tried to fit God in a box. Like trying to slip on a pair of shoes a few sizes too small. Like attempting to wriggle in a pair of jeans from fifth grade. I was trying to bottle the sun.
I don’t know—I guess I had put certain labels on God and I thought I had figured Him out. A stranger or friend would say something about my God and I would argue or agree, thinking I knew Him pretty well because of all of the time we had spent together.
And I do know Him, but at the same time—I don’t.
He’s so much bigger and better and holier than my imagination can handle. He’s too perfect to fit into the English language, too good to be described. He has too much love for us to bear.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m a word person, through and through. I love that we can compare the Lord to a Father and Shepherd and Teacher. I love that we can imagine His love as being wider than the heavens and deeper than the sea. I could write about His characteristics and mercies for hours in analogies and metaphors and lists.
But I don’t ever want to believe that’s all there is to our Savior. I think there’s so much more to Him than we will ever understand this side of heaven. When I really meditate on this God, I am completely blown away. To me, the only appropriate response is awe and surrender—even in the little I know about Him.
There are a lot of people who try to completely understand this God before they agree to serve Him, and I think they will forever be emptying the sea with an eyedropper. They will go in circles a thousand times—trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.
They will continue to ask, “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen?” or “How could a loving God send people to hell?”
These are big, weighty thoughts. These tough questions keep them up at night, tossing and turning and pacing. People bear these questions as burdens and point to them as reasons to turn away from Jesus.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think these questions need to be answered in clear and systematic lists. I used to try to answer this way—in cohesive arguments and reasoning. I would point to the glory of God and His righteousness; I was trying to will the blind to see, little by little. And maybe there’s a time and place to respond in this manner, but I don’t do it anymore.
Now I just simply say,
“I don’t know. But He is so good.”
“I don’t know, but He has so much love for us.”
“I have seen His goodness, I have felt His love, and I have experienced His grace.”
At some point I stopped trying to give all the answers and started trusting that He has all of the answers.
There’s no math equation that will equal God (Thank heavens because I can't solve a math problem TO SAVE MY LIFE). There’s no picture that will sum up His attributes, no word vast enough to describe His goodness. No amount of earthly intelligence can comprehend the infiniteness of the Almighty. No one can explain Him away or put Him in a box.
All I know is that this mighty, holy, dangerous, and incomprehensible God is real and alive and good. I’m okay with not understanding all of His ways, because He is perfect and I am not. He is omniscient and I am not. He exists beyond the boundaries of time and space and I, most definitely, do not.
At first I thought my inability to completely understand God and all of His plans was incredibly frustrating. But then I saw the peace and hope in this. This shouldn’t stop us from seeking to know Him, but encourage us all the more.
To me, it’s a soothing fact—we don’t have to understand everything about Him; we just have to trust Him. It takes the pressure off, loosens the chains, and continuously brings us to our knees in worship. We are compelled to a childlike faith and dependency in its truest and purest form.
We don’t have all of the answers, but our Father does.