When God Does Not Make Sense
2 Peter 3:16 There are some things in them (Paul’s Letters) that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction…
I identify with Peter’s sentiment when he says that some of Paul’s words are hard to understand. There is a lot about the bible and God that I do not get. Apparently some of Paul’s teaching was difficult for the first century Christians to understand as well.
Peter, I think, is just acknowledging what we all know. Sometimes it is hard to understand the bible. Sometimes it is hard to understand God. It should be no surprise of course, that God is beyond our complete comprehension, but still, there are those things that are frustrating to not know.
When a child is raped and murdered, I cannot begin to understand God’s plan. If He is all-powerful and all-loving, how could He allow such a thing to happen? My mind starts to search for some explanation. It is in this need to have God fit into my mind that I begin to make the errors that Peter warns of. When I need to have God make sense to me, I force him into that which I can comprehend.
I then say things like, God does everything for a reason. You just need to figure out what that reason is… God is sovereign, so He chose for this child to suffer this way for a purpose… It is in my utmost arrogance that I try to explain to others the mysteries of God. The truth is, I have no understanding of why or how God allows/causes some things to happen. I do not think that I am guaranteed an answer for everything in this life.
That is the lesson of Job, I think. After much suffering, Job’s friends all offered (wrong) explanations. This is the warning of Peter. Do not follow those who offer cheap, easy answers, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction. Job suffered greatly and was never given the reason for it. Job did not suffer because God did this to him. He suffered because God allowed Satan to make him suffer. Job however, was never told of this cosmic battle that was going on behind the scenes. Job never got to find out the why. When Job finally got to confront God, God’s response was I am God and you are not.
I am not guaranteed an understanding of everything. I am not always given the why. God is beyond me and though He made me a creature of (some) reason, He is under no obligation to satisfy my sense of logic, reason or justice. He is God and thus, He is far beyond me. Peter is saying that He is of course, going to be difficult to understand. He is after all, God.
When confronted with excruciating paradoxes, I need to resist the need to make God fit into my limited sense of reason. It is not failure to not understand. Sometimes, I just need to allow God to be God and accept that He is beyond me. In the end, He is God and I am not. Faith means keeping my eyes on him, accepting that He is God.