The other day, Ana had some big questions.
Last year, she transitioned from reading through Scripture with me for her quiet time to reading through it on her own. She read through the whole Bible in a year on her own, which made for a lot of clarifying conversations later between the two of us, where I was able to explain some things that had her confused, where I could share what I’ve studied before, and where we could go to other resources together to understand it all better.
But the questions the other day were ones with answers that we won’t know this side of eternity.
Why is God like He is? How is He all-powerful and good, yet sin still exists? What was the point of any of it – the Garden, sin, redemption? Why did Jesus have to die, to take on the full wrath of God, if God could have avoided the whole horror of it simply by not allowing sin in at all?
Good questions. Questions that I would have attempted to answer at one point in my life, thinking that I was helping God out and making Jesus more palatable by having good answers to all of the questions that could come up regarding His nature, who He is, and His very “God-ness,” for lack of a better word. But as I’ve recently watched a lot of people step away from the faith because their faith insists on answers to questions like these, I’ve concluded that there are times when genuine faith simply says this…
I don’t know. And that’s okay, because I trust God.
I’m not sure Ana was satisfied by this, as I explained to her that God has given us all that we really need to know about Him in Scripture. And if the complex answer to one of her perplexing questions isn’t answered in the Bible? Well, then it’s not for her to know. And that’s okay! She was a little self-righteous about it all, echoing what I’ve heard others say before – “Well, I’ll have a lot of questions for Him one day.” No. No, you won’t. You’ll see Him for who He is, without being struck dead, and in the glory and magnificence of His perfection, you won’t be so bold and idiotic as to demand answers from Him. The God who created us, who holds the world in place, who sustains us and knows us better than we know ourselves – He doesn’t answer to us. And that’s okay.
I’m reminding myself as our increasingly irreverent culture – a culture that attempts to seep into the church and biblically sound doctrine – subtly whispers to my children that Jesus is love and that love is equality which means that Jesus needs to be so like them that they understand Him as well as He understands them… well, I’m reminded that they need to read Scripture, that they need to come face to face with the whole character of God, of love and mercy, of judgment and wrath. They need to read truth, grapple with it, hold it up against the teachings of their culture, and find themselves uncomfortable at times, realizing that God is more complex than they’d like for Him to be, that He isn’t so easily figured out or put into one box, and that He tells us what we need to know.
“Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45
I took Ana to the passage I’d read that morning, a passage that didn’t answer any of her questions the way she wanted them answered. I told her about how God had not explained Himself to the Israelites, that they had questioned and wondered at His character at times, and how He’d still – even in their unbelief – led them and provided for them, paving the road to redemption all the while. And here it was, the truth of the matter, that none of His promises had failed. Not one word. He could be trusted even if He couldn’t be fully understood by human minds. He could be trusted, even if they were left with questions. He could be trusted because He is good, beyond our understanding.
He can be trusted. Maybe that’s a good enough answer for all the big questions…