When I don’t understand…

I’ve been thinking more about this God we serve…and how often we want things that don’t really make much sense.

Specifically, I’m thinking about God’s omniscience and the common complaint, “I don’t understand why God would allow ______.”

Now… if we’re honestly asking if God will please show us why, and we’re willing to hear a “No, I’m not going to show you this,” then I think that’s perfectly okay to ask Him about it.

BUT…all too often we are not willing to trust if we don’t understand. I’ve heard people (including myself) disguise this unwillingness in a myriad of different statements…but I think that’s what it pretty much always boils down to.

I’d like to propose some hypothetical questions that I think would benefit all of us to think about.


Let’s say there’s this stay-at-home mom in Ohio, (like me) who is having a hard time dealing with a situation because she doesn’t understand why God allowed something or other to happen. She knows that, if she were God, she would have managed things differently. She’s become one of millions–if not billions–of people around the world thinking this same thing.

Now here’s a question for you, my readers and visitors: Do you want your God to be limited by what some woman in Ohio can understand? Maybe you know her, maybe you don’t. But regardless…do you want Him to always act the way this woman thinks He should?

Honestly! Do you? Think about the most difficult situation you’re facing right now. Do you want God to do whatever a mother, a wife, a musician, a disorganized homemaker…thinks He should do…in your situation?

No? You don’t?

Okay…maybe she’s not smart enough. After all, she’s never been to college. So how about her dad? He’s a brilliant computer engineer with his name on patents. Would you pray to and trust a god that isn’t going to do anything this particular engineer can’t understand? (Never mind the fact that he’ll admit he has a hard time understanding women.)

Quite honestly…the woman in Ohio is glad that God sometimes does things her dad can’t understand, since making her the way she is is part of it!

Okay…let’s consider a psychiatrist with many degrees and a renown reputation around the world. She does understand women…and men! (Or so she claims.) The problem is that she gets lost anytime she has to go somewhere new, can’t tell you the first thing about what keeps the earth from falling into the sun and getting all of us incinerated, and can’t manage her investments well either.

You tell me…would you trust your life to a god who never did anything that this woman couldn’t understand? Would your pray to him about your financial difficulties? Would you pray to a god like that if you ran out of gas on a dark night when your cell phone battery was dead?

While we’re at it, is there anyone on the planet whose knowledge and understanding is so great that you wouldn’t mind God limiting His actions (and non-actions) to what that person can understand?


Do you see how it’s only our own knowledge and understanding that we think so much of?

Unfortunately, there’s only one name for this inherent, human tendency. It’s pride. Ouch. We think just a bit too highly of our own knowledge and our own ability to understand life and any given situation. (Or maybe a lot too highly.)

We don’t want God to limit Himself to anyone else’s knowledge and ability to understand…just ours. But that would mean 6.9 billion different gods.

Frankly, the more I think of God and we humans in this way, the more I realize that I should be thankful that God does things I don’t understand. Completely and utterly grateful! Because I do not want a god who is limited by any human’s understanding…even my own! What would be the point in a god like that?

So next time I’m struggling with understanding something God allowed into my life or the lives of my loved ones, I will give thanks that He is capable of things bigger than I can know, and that His knowledge is beyond what I am capable of understanding.

holy experience

I think it’s time to add these things to my list of 1000 gifts, (even though it’s not a Multitude Monday):

624. That God is not limited by my understanding…

625. Or my anyone else’s.

626. That I can chose to trust Him because of this.

627. That “not understanding” is really a reason why I should trust Him, instead of a reason that I shouldn’t.

628. That I now see how completely the devil has twisted my thinking on this in the past.

629. That “whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”

3 thoughts on “When I don’t understand…”

  1. Katie, thank you for these thoughts.

    I began reading this a few days ago, and now I back to read it in full.

    Truth is, I've thought about the very thoughts you shared on this post. And like you I have reached the same conclusion – No, I don't want a God I can figure out or understand, cause then He would not be bigger than me.

    God reveals just enough of Himself to help us know Him, but He is always bigger than us.

    That thought comforts me.

    He is mighty, He is wise, He is unfathomable.


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