Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
that God has to ask his advise? (Romans 11:33-34)
We humans are born know-it-alls. We think we know everything and if we don’t we’re sure we can figure it out. And nowhere are there more know-it-alls than in the ministry. Without actually realizing it, we often presume to speak for him, forecast his actions, even read his mind, as if God is within our grasp, not a mystery, not “beyond”. It’s not all our fault. It’s expected of us.
It’s easy to forget how exasperating and downright baffling Jesus was. He turned everything we thought we knew about God up side down and inside out in order to get us to realize we don’t know and don’t understand! His parables were worldview bombs challenging our truth, shattering expectations, wiping out categories, demolishing pipedreams, casting doubt on our grasp of reality and of God. He used them to shock us know-it-alls into realizing that we don’t know and if we ever want to get anywhere with God need to admit it!
Admitting that we don’t know all there is actually a great starting point for a relationship with him. In my opinion, to relate properly to God we have to be willing to demolish the ill-conceived notion that we can figure God out. We have to stop pretending to be know-it-alls and admit there’s so much more to God and his ways than we understand and makes sense to us. Let’s not be afraid to admit that God seems to enjoy being mysteriously unreasonable and impossible for any of us to fully comprehend.
I’m not saying God is irrational or that we can’t have a relationship with God. That would be to deny Christianity itself. Neither am I saying we can’t understand certain truths about God found in Scripture. I simply mean that God transcends my human comprehension and logic. He’s beyond my human ability to reason and discover. And in some mystifying way, once I’m able to admit this, I’m in a great position to have a relationship with the God who is a divine mystery and who is genuinely incomprehensible and at the same time can be genuinely known; a God who has really been revealed in Christ Jesus and still continues to be a mystery.