When I was in elementary school, I encountered a particular type of math problem that always stymied me. Although I sought additional help from my teachers and peers, I was never able to solve it. The odd aspect of this was that even though I could describe the process, and even faithfully recreate the problem, true understanding still eluded me. A contemporary analogy would be a cell phone. I can explain how to use it but to truly understand how a call is made is far above my pay grade.
Years later, I experienced a similar situation in my spiritual walk with God. I was in a very confusing work situation. I spent many hours praying about it, even coming early to work and seeking out empty rooms, turning off the lights and locking the door, so that I could pray uninterrupted for understanding. Eventually, God explained it to me. However, even with His explanation, I did not truly understand. Like my math problem from years earlier, I could recreate the problem in my mind but could not process God’s answer.
The Bible records an incident that similarly confused the prophet Habakkuk. Everywhere he looked, he saw violence. He could not reconcile the horrors that were happening in his own kingdom and asked God for an answer.
How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.
Habakkuk 1:2-3 (NLT)
God answered Habakkuk with an explanation that confused him even more!
The LORD replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.
Habakkuk 1:5-6 (NLT)
Habakkuk could describe what was happening but he could not comprehend why God would use the most evil and vicious enemy of Israel, the Babylonians, to exact His judgment upon Israel and the surrounding lands. In fact, God even told Habakkuk he wouldn’t believe it even if someone told him about it! Even when God gives us an explanation, it does not guarantee that we will understand!
I have heard people complain that if only God would explain why He is allowing things to happen in their lives, they will be at peace. Perhaps. But isn’t it arrogant and presumptuous for anyone to believe that they can completely understand the mind of God, even if He explains a situation to them? Our intellect can allow us to understand a situation but to truly comprehend all of the implications of every decision of God is far beyond what we are capable, and thank God it is! When we think we know better than God, we supplant Him, placing ourselves in His exalted position.
When God explains something to us, we should accept it with faith. We will understand in part but someday, in Heaven and in His presence, we will completely know what He intended for us.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.