I Don’t Know {My Answer to Most Things About God Lately}

The room is completely silent.

The fluorescent lights’ buzz is all I can hear.

school classroom

Seventeen pairs of eyes focus on me, waiting for my response.  All chatter has ceased.  They want to know what I’ll say.

I stand at the front – the teacher – the one who is supposed to know her subject inside and out.  The one who is supposed to guide these teenage minds to a deeper understanding of literature and composition.

But, the intelligent boy in the back has asked a question about Lars Eighner’s essay Dumpster Diving.  While his sarcastic tone caused me to think he desired no answer because he had an agenda of his own, I thought his insight was interesting.

So, there I stood, pondering his question, listening to his reasoning, and knowing that I had no answer.  I’d taught this essay about a man who dives in dumpsters for food – not because he has to, but because he feels Americans are wasteful – to a few hundred students, but not one had ever questioned my interpretation or the literary devices I applied to explain the nuances of Eighner’s use of language.

Actually, few students ever questioned my analysis of any text.  Except this boy.  Who thought perhaps we could look at Eighner’s words in a different way using different devices.  And while his defiant, arrogant tone made me want to dismiss his challenge, I thought perhaps he could be right.

I swallowed a mouthful of pride.  (Pretty sure it was years of  pride.) And I said the words that I would say more and more in class after class…

I don’t know.

I always thought I knew.  I’d studied and researched and even prayed over what I taught in my classroom.  I took my job seriously and saw each student as someone’s daughter, son, sister, brother, or friend.

How could I not KNOW?  The school paid me to know.

But, when confronted with the insightful ponderings of a brash 16-year-old Advanced Placement Language student, I had no answer.  In fact, I thought his answer sounded better.

And so, I don’t know became part of my teaching style.  I found that I preferred what do you think? to here’s what I know.

And today, I am settled on I don’t know.

As I have researched and studied and asked God what it means to live rescued…why He’s not at work in ways in which I think He should be…why sometimes the promises in His word do not seem to mesh with the reality my human eyes see and my human heart feels…I have concluded…

I don’t know.

I would love to compose a beautiful speech or devotional outlining how we all can live rescued.  But, I can’t.  And I don’t think any of us can or should.

There is no formula for living rescued or living as a Christ follower.

While following Jesus’ commands to love Him and love others is a given – a must – how loving Him and others looks in your life and how it looks in mine will be quite different.

While reading your Bible, praying, and living in community with other Christ followers are essential, what your study time and prayer time and community looks like is probably very different from mine.

And that’s ok.  Even desirable.

While we all should agree that our rescue occurred 2,000 years ago at Calvary when the Creator of the universe sent his only son to bear and die for our sin by being horrifically crucified on a cross, God designed us differently and gave us each different situations and gifts.

So.

I don’t know a formula for or the ten steps to being or becoming holy.

I don’t know all the answers about what God allows or causes.

But, I do know Who He is.

He is my rescuer; the Savior of the world.

I can live rescued, resting in the promises He’s made through His word.  I can live rescued, resting in His character.  Who is He is.

And that’s the same for all of us.  We don’t have all the answers.  I can’t fix you and you can’t fix me. But, He does and can.  He has all the answers and His “fix” for your life probably doesn’t look exactly as you think it should, but we can rest in WHO he is – NOT the situation, not our gifts, and not the “fix.”

And HOW do we rest in WHO He is? Again, no formula there either.  As I struggle in this current season of life and question what God’s up to and why we treat one another poorly, I cling to His character:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8

Have you not known?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  Isaiah 40:28

These are just a few of the verses that remind me He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; He is with you always, will strengthen you, and uphold you; He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love; He is everlasting, understanding, and unsearchable, never growing weary.

So we rest in Him and live our lives with the peace of knowing THIS is WHO he is.

Thank you, Jesus.

Comments

  1. I love this and am going to bookmark it.

  2. Beautiful.

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