But I Have to Understand! Part 2
Deuteronomy 29:29a The secret things belong to the Lord our God….
Insisting on understanding what God is doing is not only frustrating, but if it gets out of hand, can be detrimental to our spiritual health. If we focus our energies on trying to figure out what God is doing, one of two things can happen.
The first danger is that we slow down the work of God to a snail’s pace because we have determined not to go faster than our understanding. Many a sincere Christian has found himself in a kind of spiritual quicksand because the mind is trapped in a place of having to “make sense” of things. This is distracting, because what God is generally not doing is explaining His actions to humans who can’t begin to wrap their limited brains around His eternally wise actions. It’s the enemy’s ruse, as we spend our mind’s and heart’s energies on going down side trails that he knows will lead nowhere—and will lead to more frustration in the long run. Much time has been wasted and much spiritual ground has been lost in this pursuit.
But there is perhaps an even greater danger, and it’s a common one. Lacking a clear revelation from God about what He’s doing, some of us force ourselves to an understanding (so that we feel we can go forward) that is either woefully lacking or even completely wrong—an unstable and inaccurate starting point from which to proceed. This second option even opens the door to spiritual deception as we attempt to create an understanding where God hasn’t provided one. While it seems to provide a temporary relief from uncertainty, false conclusions are either fool’s gold or a candy coating over a poison pill.
The bottom line is that when we insist on understanding before we move forward, we are creating an idol that we are putting before the Lord. Reason was the idol that began to replace faith hundreds of years ago, and is still an attractive replacement when we are weak.
Then what do we do? Remember, it’s only natural to ask for understanding and seek it. But we have to be willing to not understand and move forward in obedience. That’s called walking by faith. And what are we having faith in? That God is good, that He is trustworthy, that He has things in control, and best of all, that no matter what we understand or not, “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Once we let go of our need to understand, we are forced then to simply trust and obey. Can we let go? Can we trust that if we do let go, He is still in control, and still operating in wisdom, power and love? Can we make the leap to understanding that if we stop trying so hard to understand, that we might be getting out of His way? An old booklet from last century encouraged Christians to stop asking “Why” and starting asking “What now?”
That may take some time, and involves a leap of faith. But such a switch will save a great deal of time in the long run. And it may open the door to hearing what He wants us to hear next.
Prayer: God, I don’t want to go in circles to no purpose, and I don’t want to wander into spiritually dangerous waters by locking down on a false “wisdom”. I give You permission to shake me out of that phase when I get stuck there. Give me a heart that always wants to hear what You have to say next. Thank You!