Trusting God is one of the foundational problems people have. Case in point: Eve’s whole thing with eating forbidden fruit was because she didn’t trust what God told her. And the whole scenario and decision exemplify my theme here today – she (and Adam) should have trusted the God who not only created them, but was and is so far above them in wisdom and knowledge as to be incomprehensible.
I know some people are offended by this concept of God being so much greater than them, their human wisdom, and their evaluation of the world. They ask “why, if he is so great, then why didn’t he…?
It is true that he has gifted us with some intelligence and potential to understand. This is not only useful to make use of the world he created for us, but should guide us to be in awe of what he in his magnificence has made. We can understand to some degree some of its complexities. We can experiment with some of its powers. But we will never have the full knowledge and wisdom of God.
It is simply not possible.
Consider trying to explain a car engine to a toddler. The dear child may be able to understand that the car moves, that it can be turned right or left, and even that you have to stop once in a while “to feed” it. However, it is highly unlikely that the child will have the capacity to learn the physics and chemistry that make all of the car function as a unit.
God is so far above us as to make us to be basically on the same level as a toddler. We (at least some people) can build cars, but as for exactly why the atoms and molecules do what they do, that is a different question all together.
Not only that, but WE can’t create atoms. We can only, sometimes, recombine things made available to us. It’s like the world is the original, ultimate Tinker Toy Set or Lego collection. With much superior possibilities.
This superiority of God’s is one of the main themes of Job. This superiority gives him the right AND the capability to do whatever he wants.
This same ultimate superiority by definitiion makes him a God of perfection. This is not only exhibited by his power, but by his character. And he has exhibited this character throughout history, as well as maintaining a record of it.
In other words, he has been so good as to show us examples of his love and justice, both in his creation and how he deals with mankind.
This should be our basis when things don’t seem to make sense or are really hard. But to help ourselves, let’s think about a couple of things.
First of all, most of us adults do “hard” things because we can envision a desired result in the future.
For example, I ran a marathon a few years ago. Before the event, I engaged in strenuous training for months. On the day of the race, I was dealing with gried, injury, and finally absolute exhausion, but I kept going because the result was worth it to me. I might even do it again some day.
All of this for a very temporal, emotional satisfaction of such a challenging accomplishment. But also for the earthly benefit of my overall health.
Some of you may think running a marathon is crazy, so let me try another example.
Most people have children. Giving birth to them is hard enough, but raising them takes years of travail. They keep you up at night. They get everything dirty. They require quite a lot of supervision. Yet even in the hardest stages, there is something indefinably precious about them.
The long term benefit of relationship with them is a strong motivation for most parents, in spite of the toil – toil which the children themselves chafe against in their own lack of understanding, so this example has layers of meaning.
If we, with our finite understanding, are willing to endure much to achieve things of importance to us, it should bring us closer to understanding that God may be accomplishing some things that require work, but that are beyond our understanding.
The first couple of chapters of Job give us a glimpse of this. There is something going on in the heavenly realm that isn’t fully explained, but obviously affects what happens to Job.
All we know for sure is that it is going to prove Job’s faith in God. What we also find out is that while Job is proven faithful, he also learns a new level of trust.
And we never again hear of Satan in the story. That part of things is left outside of our necessary knowledge.
I obviously can’t say why this is so, but it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think about it in some combination of:
- we are supposed to learn to realize and rest in God’s sovereignty
- we might not understand it and come to erroneous conclusions, and
- as a possible variation on 2., it might not be good for us to know! – NOT ALL KNOWLEDGE IS BENEFICIAL TO US! re: forbidden fruit.
Let me emphasize again: God has shown us his character. He has given us every reason to trust him and his plans. We know that he loves us with a great love. We know that he himself paid the price for our rebellion, if we will but repent and let his blood wash us clean.
We also know that this life and world are temporary. Sometimes it feels like running a marathon or giving birth, but he has prepared an eternal paradise for those who receive him. Meanwhile, as we live according to his principles, by the gift of his spirit, he will guide our steps, even if he sees fit to do it a step at a time.
We are made for living day by day and we can trust him while we do it.