It’s interesting how, not that long ago, I thought Jayla would never talk. Now, she’s stringing words together to make sentences. Lately she’s been loving the question, “Why?” to which she often answers herself with, “Cuz.” Now the grammar nerd in me cringes to even write that word that really isn’t one, but when she says it, it’s absolutely adorable. She walks around the house just repeating, “Why? Cuz. Why? Cuz.” I hate to admit that she’s picked up this non-word because I, myself, have used it. Sometimes my kids want to know why, and my only response is cuz. I say it because there are times when their little brains won’t understand my adult reasoning nor do they need to. They just need to trust that I am looking out for them and doing what’s best even if they don’t understand why. I want my kids to be satisfied with my response of cuz; though, I have to admit that I struggle with accepting that same response from my Heavenly Father.
Many times in the middle of personal struggles or national crisis, we look up to the heavens to our Father and demand, “WHY?” Or maybe you’ve felt God pulling on your heart, leading you down a new, challenging path, and you moan, “But, why?” I know that God is my father and I am his child, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God…” (1 John 3:1a). Therefore, I should be content when he chooses to respond with “cuz.” Yet, when our father’s answer is “cuz,” we’re left confused and frustrated. Maybe that’s the point, though. When we don’t understand, our faith is strengthened because we must trust that he has a reason, maybe our little brains can’t understand his sovereignty, or maybe we just don’t need to.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). I have applied this verse numerous times to my own life. Even this week as I pray for the community of Sutherland Springs, TX, I’m left clinging to Proverbs 3:5. Last week, though, I had to fight through this verse trying to trust and not rely on my own understanding as I struggled with Scripture. In my Bible study, we were working through some tough passages in Romans. (Have you ever read that whole book? I love so many verses from Romans, little snippets of wisdom from Paul, but when you throw the entire work at me, my head starts to hurt.) As we discussed chapters 9-11, we went back and forth, discussing and debating the truth that God is sovereign, yet we have free will. We read and re-read verses, broke them down, looked up reference verses, and used other resources, yet my brain still felt muddled trying to reason through everything Paul was teaching. Honestly, it is much easier for me to accept that I can’t understand why things are happening in my life and my world and still trust that God has a plan, than it is for me to accept not understanding parts of God’s word. It’s hard for me to admit that I don’t understand how God’s sovereignty and my free will co-exist, yet, I still believe that both are true. At the end of Romans 11 in verse 33, Paul writes, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” And in the margin, I wrote, “AMEN!”
Is that okay? Is it okay to not understand something in God’s word? I think so, and I don’t think I’m alone in my inability to understand. In the conclusion of his second letter, Peter tells the Christians to whom he is writing to remember what Paul taught them (including his letter to the Romans – the exact text that is causing my confusion). Peter writes, “He (Paul) writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16, emphasis mine). Yes, yes! They are hard to understand, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. So, am I being ignorant when I accept them as truth though I don’t understand them? Am I distorting the Scriptures? I don’t think so. You, see God’s wisdom and knowledge is far beyond anything I can understand. You and I were not created to be on an intellectually level playing field with God. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25). We are not equal to God and cannot expect to understand all that he does. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28, emphasis mine). Did you catch that? NO ONE can fathom. We don’t have to understand (sometimes, we can’t); we just have to trust that our Father has our best interest in mind and be content with “cuz.” We have to trust even when we don’t understand…that’s why it’s called faith. So, for now, I will keep reading Scripture, keep trudging through the difficult parts, keep studying. I will keep getting to know my Lord and trust that, until I see him face-to-face, his “cuz” is good enough.
Lord, please help me to be persistent in reading your Word. Help me to keep trying even when it is difficult and I lack understanding. Give me wisdom to comprehend and faith to trust that your Word is true and your ways are right even when I don’t understand.