November 1, 2017
Is it hard for you to believe God in an area that you’ve never personally seen Him come through in? I know some people who can’t wrap their minds around the fact that God is Healer because they’ve never seen Him heal before. I’m not saying this is intentional, and in fact many times our unbelief is passive. Do you really believe that God can miraculously pay off your debt? Do you believe He can (and wants to) show up in your workplace everyday? Or maybe you’re facing a giant that’s been taunting you for years and have no idea when or how your breakthrough will come?
Maybe you’re facing even bigger questions about God’s character… why do bad things happen to good people? Why doesn’t God stop terrorism attacks? If He knew we would sin in Eden, why did He even put the tree there?
It’s so important that we choose to trust God even when we don’t understand or when our experiences challenge what we know is true about Him. When your questions are bigger than what your experiences can explain, trusting God comes down to humility and faith.
Reality Is Bigger Than Our Understanding
So what do we do with the things we don’t understand about God? Let’s take a look at some of our paradigms about the world first…
Can you imagine someone, 200 years ago, telling you that they could write the entire Bible on something the size of your fingernail and anyone could read it? You would probably think “No way! No one could write that tiny. That’s impossible.”
Of course, your paradigm would not include the microchip because the technology hadn’t been invented yet. Your understanding of the world would have lacked 160 years of discovery, invention, and innovation.
The point is that our understanding of the world around us, the world in us, and the world that awaits us, is limited by the time and space that we find ourselves in. The mistake we often make is that we reduce reality to our understanding, and reject anything that we can’t currently explain. This is not only true about the way we interpret the world, but it’s so often true about the way we interpret God. We have to realize that the truth is so much higher than simple facts.
Is Hell Real?
This dynamic takes place in all walks of life but it is especially prevalent in science and theology.
A great example of this is our understanding of hell. Many times I have heard pastors say, “How could a loving God send people to hell?” Then they begin to reinterpret the Bible through their current understanding of the Love of God and the nature of Jesus. Usually this leads to concluding there can’t be a hell because the concept is incongruent with their current revelation of God.
Experience Isn’t Always The Answer
When we lean on our own understanding we reduce reality down to our own experience. We rationalize that if we can’t understand it, or we haven’t experienced it, then it can’t be true. This thinking is flawed from a number of perspectives:
- It reduces truth down to your own experience and ignores the experiences of 7.2 billion other people on the planet. Ask yourself the question, “Is it possible that somebody else on the planet knows something or has experienced something before you have?”
- It assumes that if God is doing something in the universe then He would certainly tell you or show you first. Of course God does speak to us, but it would be crazy to think He’d tell one person every single thing before He did it.
- It lives under the pretense that everything that is true has already been discovered or revealed. It’s easy to see the flaws in this thinking in science alone, much less theology. Remember, it was God himself who said, “… that in the last days the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:!4) In other words, God is going to reveal His secrets that are as broad as the sea and as deep as the ocean. The point is there’s still lots to learn!
- There are many things in the world that you believe in and yet you don’t understand. Most of us drove a car before we understood how it operated. I don’t know anyone who refuses to use air conditioning because they don’t understand how it works.
Furthermore, most of us believe things like, the earth revolves around the sun, through blind faith. Somebody smarter than us discovered this to be true and we trust them therefore we believe them. A very small percentage of the earth’s population has actually gone through the trouble of verifying that this is actually a fact.
Even Atheists Have Faith!
In other words, ALL of us exercise faith every day; at least in other people. Atheists are not unbelievers! They’re just people who choose to put their faith in men instead of God. It actually takes more faith to not believe in God than it does to believe in Him.
Okay Kris, where are you going with all this? I’m simply trying to point out that everyone lives by faith. You just decide who to put faith in.
What Are You Doing With Your Big Questions?
Personally, I have chosen to trust God. If He says that He loves the world so much that He gave His only son, and He goes on to say that there is a hell that some people will go to; then I believe Him because I trust Him.
I can’t reconcile hell and God’s love in my mind, nor can I explain how they coexist. However, God has 100 billion years more experience than I have, therefore it’s reasonable to believe that there are facts that have yet to be discovered by humanity, that God is privy to. This same principle applies to our other big questions about God, the world and faith.
So often what seems unreasonable in our own understanding, is simply an area in which, metaphorically speaking, we lack years of technology that will explain the gap in incongruence over time! So at the end of the day we have to choose faith in His character even when we don’t have answers to our big questions. Is this something you wrestle with? How do you find peace in the mystery? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Topics: All TopicsFreedomIdentityMorality