When I Don’t Understand God
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33
When my siblings and I were young, my parents, in an effort to teach us financial stewardship, opened a savings account in each of our names. Unspent allowance and birthday money went into it and I remember when my dad first told me that I’d saved $100. I was astounded. That was a magnificent number – more money than I’d ever imagined. I asked him if that was enough to buy a car or a house, which he found amusing. He explained that a new car could cost 100 times that and a house, 500 times that. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around those numbers. It seemed impossible.
I still get that same feeling sometimes – like I’m a child attempting to grasp grown-up concepts. When I question God and I just don’t get what he’s doing, I look back to my childhood and remember that story. As far as my father’s mind was above my own at the time, God is infinitely further beyond my grown-up brain now. There are a lot of things I don’t understand. Why does God allow a child to be abused? Why do good people get cancer and die young? How can God be all-powerful and loving? Why does addiction even exist? How can God be in control and we can still have free will?
Paul must have encountered similar questions when he penned the words of today’s passage. In it, he spoke of God’s long-term plan regarding his people, the Israelites, who had largely rejected Jesus. How can this be God’s plan if even his chosen people have refused it? The plan didn’t make sense to many I’m sure. Paul responded though, that it’s God’s plan. He isn’t required to make his will make sense to our limited intellect. He isn’t obligated to run things by us for our approval. He’s God. As God, he’s so far beyond our comprehension that it’s almost guaranteed that his will is often going to baffle us.
As a child, I couldn’t grasp the numbers my father tried to explain. But I believed him because he’s my dad. That seems to be similar to what Paul said. We may not understand God. He is, by nature, beyond us. We’d do well to accept that there are things we may never comprehend, but that we must still believe in and follow him, because he’s still God.