Updated: Oct 8, 2019
I’m reminded of my life when I look at this Bible study in front of me… the kind with loads of blanks and questions, all appropriately spaced out to accommodate the correct answers; there are so many holes. Like a block of Swiss cheese, the holes go right through me, more questions than answers, mixed with longing, and ignorance, and such an urge to fill in every space with the right thing. Could I find some peace if I just figured out all the answers? Would my life look put-together if all the spaces were correctly filled in?
I went to Bible College for four years, and worked hard to finish the assignments, papers, reading, and prerequisites for each of my courses. I loved my time at that school, but remember distinctly realizing that in my study of who God is, and what His Word says, I was leaving with more questions than I did answers. I remember thinking, “Is it possible that the more I know, the more I actually don’t know?” Did I choose to follow God, or did He choose me as His follower? In what order will everything happen in the end times? How does God work out His glorious plan in the face of such widespread pain, suffering and death around the world? I don’t know.
The Bible study I’ve been working through in the recent weeks is guiding me through Nehemiah (Nehemiah Rebuilt and Rebuilding), and is unique in its structure. Each day presents a few open-ended questions, often without very clear “right or wrong” answers for me to check. (Grrr.) I get the feeling the author cares more about me searching around in God’s Word than ensuring I land on the right answers. In the process, I’m becoming more and more at home in His presence, searching the Scriptures, even when I’m not sure about the meaning or purpose behind the details in His story. I’m learning to seek Him more than the answers and direction I’m hoping He’ll provide.
We have been created, limited in knowledge and wisdom, on purpose. He made us with questions so we would ask, and find our answers in His Truth. He made us with weakness, so we would need (Him and each other), and find our ultimate wholeness in relationship with our God. He made us with limited understanding, so we would trust Him, ultimately finding our rest in His perfect knowledge instead of our own. This is exactly how we were designed, our holes serving a very important purpose – to point us to our great need for God.
So the call is to REST in the unknown circumstances of our lives; yet, how much of our energy is spent trying to figure them out from every angle! I want every blank space neatly filled in! It’s so hard for me to sit in the empty spaces, trusting God’s purpose for them. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, especially at first, until the truth settles over me - “in my weakness, He is strong.”
Isn’t this what the whole story of Salvation is centered around? Jesus came to live the life we cannot live, and to uphold a moral standard we will never be able to keep, so that ultimately HE’s the exalted One through our lives. When we look, with Paul, at the “achievements” in our resumes (Philippians 3:5-6), they are worth NOTHING; in fact, much worse than nothing! If these spiritual “accomplishments” (religious activity, Biblical knowledge, generosity, moral lifestyle, confidence that we have all the answers) take us away from KNOWING Jesus, they are worth “scubalon” (a word so vile, I’d prefer to leave it in Greek, but is likened to "dung" - Philippians 3:8). When we don’t know all the answers, and yet trust Him, the all-knowing One can show up in the world through us, despite our great deficits. Our lives can become a spotlight revealing His greatness!
I debated whether or not to include this song, but am excited to share it with you, because I feel it offers us a helpful, raw, and sincere wrestling from someone who feels a similar conflict that I’ve felt when I don’t know if I have the right answer in my Bible study (or any area of my life). The artist, Jon Bellion, is a popular singer/songwriter today who does not seem to fear God through his typical choice of lyrics. However, this particular song is a beautiful portrayal of a man questioning why so many things in life are unknowable; coming to the conclusion, “Maybe I don’t know, but maybe that’s OK.”
(Before listening to this song, you should know that there is one word in the lyrics that may be offensive to you. Considering the very similar word mentioned above in Philippians 3:8, which refers to the worth of our greatest spiritual accomplishments if they take us away from knowing Christ, I’m going to ask that you listen to it as a word selected to portray the angst of his emotion regarding this topic.) Please have a listen:
Maybe IDK – Jon Bellion
I wonder why I get paranoid when I’m high I wonder why I say yes to everyone in my life I wonder why I can't run that fast in my dreams I wonder why I feel short when I know my money's tall I wonder why I miss everyone and I still don't call I wonder why I can't run that fast in my dreams
Although I guess if I knew tomorrow I guess I wouldn't need faith I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn't need grace I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn't be God
So maybe I don't know, maybe I don't know Maybe I don't know, maybe I don't know But maybe that's okay Maybe that's okay, maybe that's okay Maybe I don't know, maybe I don't know But maybe that's okay