It was the summer of 1967, and a young girl named Joni was riding horses near Chesapeake Bay. She decided to go for a swim and she dove into the shallow water, breaking her neck on a submerged rock. At first, Joni had a hard time reconciling her accident with the idea of a loving God.
She was angry, demanding to know why this had happened to her. One day a friend told her, “Jesus knows how you feel. He was paralysed. He couldn’t move or change position on the cross. He was paralysed by the nails.” Joni began to understand God is a God of love, even when tragedy strikes in our lives. Today, God is using Joni Eareckson Tada to touch others.
When We Wonder Why
She once received a letter from an angry young man who had been in an accident. He was bitter at God for allowing him to suffer. He had written to Joni asking the big question: Why? After relating some of her own feelings of bitterness and questioning, Joni wrote:
If God decided to explain all His ways to me, what makes me think I would be able to understand them? It would be like pouring million-gallon truths into my one-ounce brain. Didn’t one Old Testament author write, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)? In fact, the whole book of Ecclesiastes was written to convince people like me that only God holds the keys to unlocking the mysteries of life and that He’s not loaning them all out! If God’s mind was small enough for me to understand, He wouldn’t be God! Yet, in spite of this, He has chosen to have a personal relationship with me—that’s the greatest mystery of all! (A Step Further, p. 173)
Having said that, notice also: God is so great that you’ll never fully understand him!
So, while you can know God, he is so majestic our finite human minds can never fully comprehend all there is to know about him. You may wonder if it’s possible to know someone without truly understanding them. Well, I don’t understand everything about my wife, but I know her, and I love her. That’s what makes marriage exciting; it’s a never-ending quest to know each other better. If you’ve ever heard someone say to their spouse, I’ve got you figured out, you can know that they’re lying. If you ever hear someone say, I’ve got God figured out, you know they are also mistaken.
The Overwhelming Greatness Of God
The Apostle Paul is so overwhelmed by the greatness and majesty of God he breaks out with these words in Romans 11:33-36:
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be glory forever! Amen.
Many people think God is too mysterious to follow—they think his ways are so mysterious they are beyond our understanding. Perhaps the phrase God moves in mysterious ways was coined because in the Bible, God often did the unexpected. For instance, instead of using Moses when he was 40-years-old, God waited until Moses was 80—that’s moving in a mysterious way! Instead of using Gideon’s army of 32,000 soldiers, God told Gideon to whittle his ranks down until only 300 soldiers remained—that’s pretty mysterious! God seldom acts or moves the way we think he should.
Instead of having the Messiah, the King of the Jews, born in a great palace, he was born to a peasant girl in a barn. Instead of having the Messiah placed on a great throne of gold, God had the Messiah nailed to a cross of wood. Unexpected? God specialises in the unexpected.