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A God I Cannot Understand

May 26, 2011

{If you follow Kristi’s blog, you know she does an awesome job of walking women through the Word! I love her gentle spirit and strong faith that seem to radiate throughout each post. When I read, “A God I Cannot Understand“, I couldn’t wait to highlight it as one of my favorite posts. We all face things that bring us to a crisis of belief – circumstances that cause us to trust God even when we don’t understand. In “A God I Cannot Understand”, Kristi helps us find clarity even when everything around us seems unclear.}

A God I Cannot Understand

Originally posted March 14th, 2011 by Kristi Stephens


There is much discussion these days about theology, about what God would or would not do, of how God would or would not judge – as limited human beings we kick against Scripture that describes a God who is bigger than we can understand, more wrathful at sin than we feel comfortable with, and at the same time more gracious than we can fully comprehend. We reinterpret the Bible to make it comfortable, to reduce God to a size more understandable, to try to represent Him in ways that seem more appealing to a culture repulsed by the idea of being told our sin makes us deserving of punishment.

Here’s the thing: I do not understand God.

Yesterday I sat in church and rejoiced with our body as we welcomed a pastor who has obviously been sent by our sovereign and gracious God into our midst. He has heard our prayers. He has seen our need. He has provided. We worshiped Him with glad hearts and recognized His very tangible work in our midst.

I sat in my seat and pondered: God is good, yes. He absolutely is good and gracious and a God who hears the prayers of His people. He is also the sovereign and omnipotent God who is with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering unimaginably in Japan. The earth is groaning, His people are crying out to Him, they are learning to worship Him from a place of lamentation and loss. His goodness, His character is not different in different parts of the world. His strength is not limited. We are no more deserving of His grace and care than anyone else.

I do not understand God.

There are many things I cannot fully explain to you about my God. I cannot wrap my feeble, small mind around His bigness. But I can know with certainty what I read in God’s Word.

I open my Bible and read of a great God who is unlimited in power and knowledge, unbound by time and space. I do not fully understand, but I know it with certainty to be true: His Word says it clearly.

I read of a God who is one and also three, who has existed from eternity past and will never end. When I ponder these things my brain hurts. I cannot wrap my mind around it, but I know it with certainty: His Word says it clearly.

I see in His Word and His plan that He is utterly and unspeakably holy. That no sinful man can stand in His presence. The descriptions of His holy wrath and judgment against sin make me shudder in awe – I cannot fathom this kind of holiness, this consuming fire that is my righteous Creator, but I know it with certainty: His Word says it clearly.

In my Bible I find a God who loves the lowly creatures He made. That even when they outright rebelled against Him He refused to turn His back and abandon them to their chosen path of rebellion. I meet a God who would provide a shocking way to pay the penalty for sin that His holy nature demanded, as God the Son willingly wrapped Himself in limited flesh and sacrificed Himself on our behalf. What kind of loving God is this? My heart aches at even the glimmer of recognition of this kind of love, but I know it with certainty: His Word says it clearly.

I do not fully understand my God. I cannot understand or put into words exactly how God’s sovereignty and man’s choice intersect, nor can I fully grasp the weight of eternal punishment for sin that our Bibles clearly describe. I cannot completely explain why God would allow devastating natural disasters like what we are witnessing in Japan.

But there is much I know: My God doesn’t just do good things – He IS good. My God doesn’t just love us – He IS love. He is a just, righteous, merciful, holy, sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, indescribably awesome God. Through Him all things hold together and have their being, and nothing, NOTHING, is out of His control.

I don’t understand Him. I open my hands to Him and accept with deep gratitude the gracious gifts He has given us. We do not deserve firm ground beneath our feet and safe families more than anyone else. I do not understand why He has chosen to bless us in this moment and why His plan includes such deep suffering in Japan. I do not understand. But I trust Him. I know with certainty that He is a trustworthy God.

I’m glad He is too big for me to fathom. A God small enough for me to understand… would not be God at all.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2011 8:06 am

    Amen – a God small enough to understand would be limited indeed. And if we think we understand God, then we really don’t know Him at all.
    Thanks for this 🙂

    • stephanieshott permalink
      May 26, 2011 9:32 am

      Homeschool on the Croft ~ I love how you said, “If we think we understand God, then we really don’t know Him at all.” How can creation fully comprehend the Creator? Great thoughts!

  2. May 29, 2011 8:52 am

    What a great post. I’m so thankful for His truthful Word here for us to read and study and trust. This is so important: “I do not understand. But I trust Him.” Praying for that full trust always!!

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