Why We Need to Know Why

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is “How It’s Made.” This is on the Discovery channel and, if you’re not familiar with it, shows how things are made- everything from cars, to ceramic figurines, to pools, to pool cues, to whatever. It gives you about 7 minutes of a quick, this-is-how-it’s-done review for each thing. You need to watch some of them two or three times to really understand what is happening, like when they show and explain how a clutch is made.

I think we, as a people, like to know how things work. I think this is because it gives us a sense of control; if I know what makes this work, then I can control it, I can make it do what I want, or I can stop it from doing something. It all comes down to who is in control, and we want to be in control of our selves and our lives.

That’s not how it works with God, though, is it? God is in control, and the best we can hope for is that when we pray He will answer as we wish, doing what we ask Him to do for us. That usually isn’t what happens, since what we want is usually bad for us and what God wants for us is always what is best for us. Personally, even though I want to know how everything in the world works, I have learned to allow God to work his own way and I don’t really need to know what He has planned. I trust Him to do what is best for me.

Solomon tells us, in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) that the man who tried to know everything, who wanted to understand about all the ways of God, found himself frustrated and doing nothing more than “chasing the wind.” That’s why he says everything is useless. Here is the whole point of Kohelet: it’s not the things that we do or achieve that are useless, it’s trying to understand why God does what He does that is useless. Why? Because we can’t understand God. He is too high above us, too wonderful, and certainly a lot holier than we are, or ever can be, and we cannot fathom His thoughts.

I like knowing about the world and even the universe; how it works, how chemicals interact to form things, how we are able to construct buildings or make engines, design machinery and how foods are mass-produced. I love that stuff and I will watch the Discovery channel to learn how the world works because I am still, despite the general opinion, human. And I do feel some level of comfort knowing what to expect because I understanding how things work, and thereby I have some level of control. Knowledge of the world gives us a sense of comfort, but the truth is that God is in control, and we need to accept that. Trying to understand Him is fruitless and frustrating. We need to trust, to obey, and to faithfully expect that whatever he does in your life is for your good. That’s walking in faith with the Lord.

As I said, knowing how everything works is what I love. But with respect to how God works, why He does what he does, and what He will do next, well, that is off-limits to me. I am happy to leave all that in His hands. That is my way of showing Him the respect, trust and confidence I have in His promises and His judgement, and one way I demonstrate my worship of Him. Maybe you should consider that as a good way you can worship Him, too.

I read once any god that can be understood by the mind of Man is not worthy of the worship of Man. I think that is very wise, and I agree. I don’t try to understand God, and think it is disrespectful to even want to. God is too much: too much higher in thought, too much higher in holiness, too much greater in wisdom, and way, way too much more powerful than me. Why would I not trust Him? And, frankly, He’s gonna do what He wants to do whether I trust Him or not! He is going to do what He wants to do no matter what I think, or what you think; He is no respecter of people. But He is a loving, compassionate, merciful and just God who will do what is right. Always.

If that isn’t enough for you, I’m sorry to say, I believe you are setting yourself up to be very frustrated in your life and in your worship. And it will be all your own fault. Sorry, but that’s how it is. Life is a game of poker- it’s not Stud poker: you can trade in some of the cards you are dealt, and there are some you just need to work with. You must decide for yourself which cards you hold and which cards you change; however, you still have no control over which cards you are dealt. The good news is that in this particular game, the dealer can deal you what He wants to, and He wants you  to win.

Trust the dealer to send you the right cards and be satisfied to work with them. Use them wisely, and you will end up winning the pot.

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