He is either greater than we can understand, perceive, describe, or imagine, or He is not God—we are.
May we never lose our wonder. Wide-eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child, staring at the beauty of our King.
God’s self-existence means that he is not answerable to us or to anybody. Although He sometimes explains things to us, he does not have to and often he does not. God does not have to explain himself to anybody.
It is the duty of the Christian scholar to look difficulties and objections squarely in the face. Nothing is to be gained by overlooking, evading or shrinking from them. Truth has no cause to fear scrutiny, however rigid and searching.
Our age dislikes intensely the idea of mystery because it directly exposes our limitations. The thought that there could be something, or someone, beyond human comprehension or imagining is, of course, exciting, but it is also belittling. It puts us in our place and that place is not at the centre.
God is often silent when we prefer that he speak, and he interrupts us when we prefer that he stay silent. His ways are not our ways. To live with the sacred God of creation means that we conduct our lives with a God who does not explain himself to us. It means that we worship a God who is often mysterious – too mysterious to fit our formulas for better living. It means that God is not our best friend, our secret lover or our good-luck charm. He is God.
Yes, we can believe God with all of our heart and yet have our heart broken by the loss of a child or the treachery of a spouse or the menace of a fatal disease. We know this is true — everyone in the church knows it. And yet, generation after generation of bruised saints have known something else and spoken of it. In the mystery of faith, we find a hand on us in the darkness, a voice that calls our name, and the sheer certainty that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God — not for this life and not for the life to come. We may be scarred and shaken, but as Lewis Smedes says in one of his sermons, we come to know that it’s all right, even when everything is all wrong.
If knowing answers to life’s questions is absolutely necessary to you, then forget the journey. You will never make it, for this is a journey of unknowables, – of unanswered questions, enigmas, incomprehensibles, and most of all, things unfair.
A man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood…Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.
God sent Elijah to the brook and it dried up. It did not prove equal to the need of the prophet. It failed; God knew it would; He made it to fail. “The brook dried up.” This is an aspect of the Divine providence that sorely perplexes our minds and tries our faith. God knows that there are heavenly whispers that men cannot hear till the drought of trouble and perhaps weariness has silenced the babbling brooks of joy. And He is not satisfied until we have learned to depend, not upon His gifts, but upon Himself.