And neither do you.
What we say we “know” are items accepted on faith, communicated through scripture, written by mortal men. We accept them as inspired; we accept them as factual — but we accept them on faith.
I think it’s important to recognize that. Constantly.
Because overconfidence in what we “know” leads to an overweening pride in our own ability to interpret what we have read and accepted. Leads to arrogance. Leads to sects and parties and division and downfall.
Leads to loss of faith. Loss of faith, in favor of “knowledge.”
And I have to confess that in the past few years, my faith has changed. I hope it has matured, but I know it has changed.
I believe God exists, that He loves, that He cares, that He saves.
That means that I believe God cares in a divine way that I don’t necessarily comprehend. Perhaps even cannot understand.
For instance ….
Because I have faith in God, I have faith that God will let bad things happen to good people. He is God, and He can do what He likes in His own way and wisdom and time. I don’t know why. I don’t have to know why. If I needed to know why, I have faith that He’d have told me.
I have my own ideas on the matter, but they’re mine and they could be wrong — and ultimately they’re not important.
If they were important, I’d have answers.
I hope that doesn’t sound cynical, but I’m sure it does — especially to people who are certain that they “know” a lot about God. I think it’s just a recognition of reality.
But I also believe that God came, was and is present as human — in the form of the One whom we call His Son, Jesus — and therefore cares in a human way as well as a divine way.
Yet still lets bad things happen to good people. Lets good things happen to bad people (like grace). Lets things of all kinds happen to all kinds of people. And all the praying in the world will not sway His will if we are praying for something that is — in the divine perspective — not ultimately good for us; not something that can be within His will.
This is the God who let His Son suffer and die to give us the perspective of grace, a glimpse at eternity, a taste of blood and bread and the way that His world should be.
So we pray from a human perspective and receive our answers from the divine perspective. And the divine perspective calls on us to try to see them from His point of view. Even if we can’t do it. We must try.
Because we are also called to be part of the human answer to human prayers. Forgiving. Generous. Gracious. Kind. Loving. Self-sacrificial.
Part of the effort to make good things happen to all people. I believe that creating us, giving us His Son, showing us His grace, was all the work He needed to do; that it is sufficient. I can pray all I want to. But in the final analysis, I might as well just recognize that my prayers have (and must have) the power to change me. That’s entirely up to me.
Whether they have the power to change what He has planned to do in order to bring about good is entirely up to Him.
That’s what I believe about God. Just what I believe. Not what I know.
Because I don’t know anything about God.
And neither do you.