30 March, 2018

You Don't Have to Understand to Believe

A few weeks ago I was reading in Jeremiah, and it didn’t make sense at all. I wanted to know why God did what He did, and how that fit with His character of love and mercy. I was frustrated because I didn’t have answers.

I’d been thinking about Job and how he said he’d trust God, even if God destroyed Him. (Job 13:15) Job didn’t know why everything was taken away from him, or that it would all be restored in the end. Through the whole experience, the Bible says he did not sin. (Job 1:22) But later in the book, God rebukes Job for thinking to understand Him, the Most High. It seems Job was doing his best, and God comes along and humbles him in the dust.  It's always mystified me.

I was also reading a fictionalized account of the story of Noah. What impressed me throughout the story was Noah’s obedience to God despite the fact that he didn’t understand. The story of the flood is familiar to us, but it didn't make sense to Noah. He hadn’t seen rain before. He didn’t know how it was logistically possible to live with all the animals on a boat. And, he had a hundred years of building in faith before he saw any evidence. But he did it anyway. 


One of my favourite passages in the book said:

‘It’s always hard to follow the Ancient One. He doesn’t offer an easy path. I think He tests us.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean anyone would follow a god who is always good to him, who is always there. But the Ancient One wants men and women who will serve Him when they feel dry as dust in their hearts, when they’ve cried out, yet the heavens are silent. Those who feel as alone as is possible for a human being to feel, but after all of that, still love God – they are the followers the Ancient One seeks. - Heart of a Lion, p88-89

Somehow all those moments came together, and I realized it was a rebuke for me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to understand God or the Bible, but I was placing my belief on it. I was trying to understand God so that I could believe He was there. I was trying to learn facts about the Bible and history and science so I could prove to others God is real. I was trying to reduce God to an explanation. 

But the truth is if I could understand and explain God, He wouldn’t be, couldn’t be, God.

It’s not a prop for ignorance. It’s good to be able to defend what we believe. There’s point in learning and trying to understand the Bible, even complex parts. But I felt God rebuke me. You don’t have to understand to believe. Job didn’t understand, but he believed. Noah didn’t understand, but He obeyed. Abraham, Mary, Peter – they didn’t understand, but they believed and obeyed in faith. 

Since then, I’m seeing or hearing about faith everywhere. It was faith that held these men of the Bible in obedience even when it didn’t make any sense. It was faith that kept them hoping and believing. Faith is our evidence; the proof we have. Even if it’s dark in every direction, faith gives us the confidence to say, 

I don’t know what You’re doing, but I know Who You are. - Who You Are, JJ Heller

18 comments:

  1. Oh WOW this cut deep - so thought-provoking. I often try to dig too deep into understanding WHY God does something and it can destroy you.
    There's historic proof that Jesus exists and that the Bible is true - I'm going to have to trust God with the rest. ;)
    Thank you for making me think this morning Jessica. <3

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    1. Ah, it honestly did the same for me. It's good to learn, but we can rest in knowing He's there and He's good no matter if it doesn't make sense. And you're right - there is proof anyway! Thank you so much for your comment, Kara! Stay strong!

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  2. Wow, great post Jessica. It’s always great to want to learn about God but you’re right, we can’t know everything about Him or He wouldn’t be God! There’s a great Bible verse in Hebrews 11:1 saying that faith is the evidence of what’s unseen. Often people say seeing is believing but in most cases that isn’t true.
    Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Praise God! :) Yes - that's become one of my favourite verses in this journey learning about faith! Faith is our surety when we there's nothing else to go by. And that saying has been on my mind too! I think that's a problem in today's world's mindset; we're not willing to trust unless we have proof, and then it isn't really trust anyway. Thanks heaps for your comment, Sarah! Many blessings to you!

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  3. Aw, man, loved this! SO beautiful <3
    That last quote touched me deeply.
    "I don't know what You are doing, but I know Who You are."

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    1. I'm so glad it could speak to you, LaKaysha! All glory to God. Keep holding onto Him, friend! xx

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  4. This is amazing and beautiful, Jessica! I love what you said about trying to reduce God to an explanation- we simply can't! It's hard to trust something you don't fully understand, but I'm so glad He gives us just the faith and grace we need for the moment. And that last quote is just amazing. Thank you, Jessica. xx

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    1. Aw, thanks Emily! Praise Him! Yes, it is hard - I think especially in today's world we want to see what we're getting before we believe. But that's what faith is all about. :) Keep trusting Him, friend! Thanks for your sweet comment!

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  5. That last quote really spoke to me... <33

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    1. I'm glad it could be a blessing to you! xx

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  6. the last quote is amazing <33333

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    1. Aw, I'm glad you liked it, Paige. xx

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  7. My youth group is studying faith right now. In the Bible there are so many stories of using faith. Faith seems like a simple step to just trust and let go, but it is not always easy. It's hard. One story that we looked at was Abraham and Isaac. God asked Abraham to do something so hard! Why would he ask him to sacrifice his one and only son? I don't know why. But it was a extreme test! A test of faith.
    There had never been someone that God had raised from the dead before, so Abraham had to trust and believe that God would remember his promise He gave to him. And God did keep His promise!
    So how can we have faith more like Abraham? Because I feel like my faith is so small compared to so many of the Bible stories.
    -Brooklyne

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    1. That's awesome you've been looking at faith too! Mm, I've been thinking about Abraham. He had great faith and obedience. I wonder why it was so hard too. I guess God knew how much He could trust Abraham with, and we have to trust He will only give us what we can bear too. (1 Corinthians 10:13) And yes! I feel like my faith pales in comparison to these people of the Bible too. I've heard the analogy before that faith is like a muscle - the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes. I don't have all the answers, but lets keep pressing closer to the One who does! He'll give us the faith we need. Thanks so much for your comment, Brooklyne. xx

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  8. oh wow this is amazing. I've been going through a lot of feelings these past few days, and trying to sort them out and put them in the right perspective. That quote you inserted from that book is SO TRUE and so encouraging. Signing my life over to God is one of the hardest things to do and continue to do every day, but it's worth it <3

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    1. I'm glad it was relevant to you, Autumn. I know that feeling for aure - it's hard to make sense of life sometimes. Amen; He always makes it worth it. Stay strong, my friend, and thanks for your comment! xx

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  9. "I was trying to reduce God to an explanation." Oh girl, you hit me with that one. Thank you so much for allowing the Lord to use you through this blog. It has blessed and convicted me numerous times. <3

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    1. Wow, praise God. I'm humbled to think He can use me, and so glad this blog has been able to minister to you, Gloria! Thanks so much for your encouragement. xx

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