If we walk by faith and not by sight, why is it that I need to be so certain about everything? Why do I need all the answers? Why do I need to know how it all works? Why do I have to know what this passage, or this idea, or this book of the Bible means? Isn’t that what Job is all about? His friends try to find all the answers and always come up short?
Have you ever stopped studying the Bible for a few days or maybe even weeks (or longer!) when you hit a brick wall and the answers aren’t coming as fast as you want them to? Believe it or not, I have.
One time I was studying atonement theory, and I got so frustrated with it that I had to just walk away for a bit. (Maybe that will be a future article series!)
But the more that I’ve studied, the more I have realized that I don’t know. And then that leads me to realizing that there is even more that I don’t know that I don’t know.
That, for me, is when everything changed. A shift in perspective that made me fall even deeper in love with the Scripture.
The fact that I can’t and won’t know the answer to everything does two things: (1) it allows me to shift my dependence from my own knowledge to a relationship with God where He knows me, and (2) it takes the pressure off of me because I don’t have to have all the answers.
These two realizations helped me to allow the same for other people. If I don’t demand perfect knowledge from myself, why should I of others? What a sad life to live! Because every time you learn something new, you basically have to discredit everything you were doing before!
So now I approach not knowing differently. Instead of being driven to gain knowledge by the fear of having something wrong, I now look at the infinite wilderness of knowledge before me as an invitation to slow down, enjoy the mystery, and do my research with the understanding that I don’t have to solve every riddle!
Now ignorance is not scary; it is an invitation!
There are simply some things I can’t bear right now, and that’s okay!
Now, a story.
Two men were studying to be preachers. They met in school and found out that they were fascinated by the same passage. The trouble was that they disagreed on the meaning of the text. All through school they would get together, research, argue, debate, and challenge each other over this one verse. One week one of them would bring compelling evidence, and the next week the other would come back with well-thought-out responses. Back and forth they’d go. Eventually they graduated and were assigned to ministries close to one another, so once a week or so they would get together at a coffee shop and have those same discussions.
Eventually, God gets tired of it. He says, “I’m going to go down there and just tell them the answer already!”
So, He goes down to the coffee shop, reveals Himself to the two preachers, and says, “Here is the answer you’ve been searching for…” But before He can finish, they both speak up at once, “Wait a minute! Wait just a minute! We’ve almost got it figured out!”
Sometimes the research, study, and discussions among friends is the point!