We are called to know God; not to “understand” him. *
Before you get confused by my statement, read on:
Children know their parents though they do not fully understand them.
For example, take a 2-year-old. He will not understand why his parents won’t let him drink all that beautiful muddy water on the street. The toddler, though he might not understand why he can’t do it, knows who his parents are and what happens when he doesn’t listen to them. As the child grows older, he will start to understand why he wasn’t allowed to drink the muddy water. However, he might not fully understand why his parents encourage him to go to school and do his best.
In a similar way, as I grow in my Christian faith, I will start to understand why some rules were put in my life. However, I won’t understand Him fully because I will keep having different trials where I will end up saying, “I have no idea why this is happening!”.
If our goal in life was to understand the fullness of God and His plans, eternities would not be enough for us to achieve this goal (especially in this sin-tainted world!). In fact, we can’t fathom to fully understand His eternal purposes. Asking God to explain himself for all that is happening is like having a 2-year-old ask an astrophysicist to explain why stars shine and expect to understand everything. It’s just unrealistic.
Let’s go back a little further even.
A baby. A baby can only laugh, cry, and make funny noises. As much as you try to explain to her why she can’t touch this electricity socket, she will keep going for it. So you gently remove her from that environment. The baby does not understand why this person who has been so nicely feeding me and changing my diapers is suddenly being such a monster carrying me away from the object of my desire. The baby cries. But the parent doesn’t relent because the parent knows this is not good for the baby.
In a similar way, when something painful, or something that I cannot understand happens to me, I tend to question God, “WHY?” as if I could understand the reply; which I realize, I can’t.
Soon enough, the 2-year-old ends up trusting his parents’ judgment.
Soon enough, the baby forgets about the socket and smiles as she sees her parents’ beautiful smiles.
Maybe that’s why Jesus said we need to become like little ones to get into heaven. It’s not more “understanding” or more “knowledge” that which will help me know Him. It is total dependence on Him that which will help me know Him.
If we were able to understand the vastness of God and His mind, how would God be God? If I understand how God runs the show in all aspects, why would I need this “god” to be appointed “God”? If my understanding is equal to God’s, then I myself could become a god.
My point is that we don’t and can’t understand all the knowledge in the world. Only God can and does. That’s why He is God and you and I are not. So let’s not try to “understand” God by putting him in a neat little box inside my head. Let’s actually get to know Him better; just like little children with their parents.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
**By using the terms “understanding” and “knowledge” here I mean the kind of attitude of wanting understanding where the focus is on why certain things need to happen a certain way; focusing on the ‘head’ knowledge rather than that an attitude of humility of wanting to understand God’s heart and trusting Him to know best.