I want to let you in to a little secret. I understand God a lot less well than I used to.
It might be something to do with having spent two years at theological college. It might be that my brain doesn’t work as well as it used to (this is quite likely). I could be being disobedient and weak (sadly, this is quite likely too).
Whatever the reason, the truth remains, looming larger and larger day by day in my mind (ironically): God is bigger, more glorious, more wonderful, more merciful, loving, frightening than I can really get my head round.
George Herbert really nails what I’m trying to get at here when he suggests: “Knowledge is but folly unless it is guided by grace.”
Proverbs 3 calls us to this: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body.”
It strikes me that the call is to a life of seeking God day by day, thanking Him for His love and mercies every single day, and asking Him, through His grace, to guide me into what it means to be a son of His, to be the person He has called me to be.
I think there’s a danger in thinking that we know too much, that we see with too much clarity who God is and what He wants. Romans 12:2 exhorts us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect”.
I believe that this renewing of the mind is to cause us daily to let go of our own pictures of God and who He is, or might be, that we might allow Him to minister to us in His grace so that we can learn to truly exercise faith and trust. Every human has a different level of understanding. Some of us are never going to understand very much at all. And yet God is for us all. We are all known by Him, whether we know Him yet or not. And so the question remains, what if there’s more to faith than knowledge? What if it’s about letting go of the need to know?
Today, as you go about your daily stuff, ask God that you might grow in knowledge, sure, but ask Him too that you might get more opportunities to exercise your faith muscle, as we walk together in the glorious unknown, into the arms of the one who will give us the answer to every question we ever had, that we might, finally, know Christ and the power of his resurrection, sharing in his life, death, sufferings, and glorious, final, victory.
And yes, I do get the irony of using understanding and knowledge to write a blog questioning the value of understanding and knowledge. I’m just asking a question.
Don’t flame me…