About a week ago, I entered into a couple of brief discussions about a particular verse.
Does disaster come to a city unless the LORD has done it? – Amos 3:6
I brought it up only because another pastor brought it up in relation to John Piper’s tweets about the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma. I affirmed that I believed this statement. I did not explain it. I did apply it to the tragedy in Moore. I simply said I believe it.
But I don’t understand it.
Now I don’t want to get into a big discussion about this passage and God’s sovereignty over all things. I affirm that too. It’s just that the older I get the more comfortable I am with not understanding parts of the Bible – whole stories, verses, themes, – while still staking my life on it. I’m OK with not understanding and still believing parts of the Bible. Actually, I’m more than OK.
In fact, the more I’ve thought about it, the more sense it makes. I can only assume there is no one outside of God who has understood all the Scriptures in full.
Sometimes, I don’t understand something because I’m dense. Sometimes, I just have have not studied it. And at other times, the tension is too much for me too say, “I understand what God is doing/saying here.”
There are two parts of Matt Redmond. The part that is more sympathetic with the Liberals wants to explain away the tension. The conservative part – the part I grew up with – wants to explain it…to have an answer.
But the more I think about this and read the Scriptures, I like the tension. I have found when the tension happens, it can take me to a place where my heart is tender enough to realize I am not all-knowing. It is at these times when I feel the most like a child in my faith. How many times have I said to my kids, “I know you don’t understand what I am telling you, but I want you to trust me. One day you will understand.”
I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t seek understanding in our study of the Bible. I’m saying there are things we are not going to understand and we should not only be comfortable with not understanding but we should we let lack of understanding be a window that enables us to look out in wonder at the One Whose ways are not our ways and Whose thoughts are not our thoughts.