When Billy Graham first started preaching, he was confused and had some doubts about God’s Word. While praying one morning, he got down on one knee and said, “Lord, I don’t understand all that is in this book, and there are a lot of different passages that I have my doubts about…. But, You say it’s Your Word, so by faith, I’m going to accept it as my authority and live it”. That prayer proved to be the turning point of his life! From that moment on, God began to use Him in amazing ways.
How many times have you been there? You’re reading your Bible and something comes up that doesn’t seem to make sense. A child suffers and dies from an illness and you try to come to grips with it. A natural disaster occurs and a great many people die because of it. Some things in this world under God are hard to understand.
This lack of understanding has been the excuse of many to dismiss God. Because they can’t understand it, they move on to things that they can understand. They form gods in their mind that more closely match their expectations. Instead of finding out for themselves, they only listen to what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3).
Proverbs 18:2 warns us, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” That’s because understanding takes effort. Expressing an opinion without the facts is much easier and, if you say the right things, you might even get lots of praise and admiration for your outlook.
Lots of people have opinions on why God allows what He does but far fewer have actually taken the time to research it. Though the Bible is the best selling book in all of history, far too few have actually studied it. The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:130, “The unfolding of Your Words give light; it imparts understanding to the simple,” but most would not know that because they haven’t taken the time to read it.
The Bible tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Billy Graham came to live these words and, when he did, his whole life changed. Instead of trying to completely understand God, who is far greater than we could ever understand, he trusted in Him completely, dedicating his life to God’s guidance.
Would you really want a God that you completely understood? I would think that if that were to happen, He would cease to be a God to us anymore. If He is not much greater than we are, why bother. If His understanding did not far transcend our own, He would be of no use to us.
God has given us all the insight we need to prepare ourselves for what is to come and I like to think that, when our time here on earth is finished, there will be lots of questions answered in heaven.
God has told us that, because we chose to know the difference between good and evil, we must experience it. Once sin entered the picture, like an incurable virus, it spread. Now, instead of trusting in God completely, sin turns us away from seeking understanding. Because of sin, we only fathom this life and forget about the next. Sin erased fairness, it did away with good fortune and it made the good to be bad and the bad to be good.
Why did God allow us the free will to make that fateful choice? Was it because He loved us enough to open our eyes? Was it because love cannot be forced and must come down to the choices we make? We’ll never fully understand it in our limited capacity. All we have to know is that God has a purpose for all things and all we are to do is trust in that with all of our mind, soul, body and strength. One day it will all make sense but, until that day, we are to live in faith, believing that God knows exactly what He’s doing and forming our expectations according to His will for us.
I know, it sounds easier than it really is with all the force of worldliness against you, but God is greater than the world. Trust in Him to open your eyes to the things you need to know. For all other things that travel beyond your understanding, rely on God and depend on His infinite wisdom. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for leading us in this world, even while much of it confuses us. Help us to understand Your ways and lead us not to lean on our own understanding. Amen.