A parable — Ginny is a bright, inquisitive, energetic four-year-old. Her hunger to learn prompts all kinds of questions that sometimes aggravates, sometimes humors, sometimes excites her parents. But one thing annoys Ginny. She will ask “Why,” and her mom will respond, “Ginny, you’re too young to understand. You just need to trust me. I know what I’m doing, even if it doesn’t make sense to you.
In Ginny’s mind Mom is unreasonable. Sometimes when she believes this her emotions kick in and she throws a fit, cries, accuses her mother of not loving her, etc. But her wise, patient mother is not derailed by her daughter’s behavior. Mom knows what Ginny doesn’t know.
Have you realized that Jesus was unreasonable when he walked this earth 2,000 years ago. He did things that others couldn’t grasp. Things that didn’t make sense to others. When Jesus was twelve years old he traveled with his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. When they were returning home they discovered that he wasn’t with him. They returned to the city and found him in the temple amazing the Jewish scholars with his insights. When his parents question his behavior he replied, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. (Luke 2:49–50).
He said things that even his loyal disciples and family members didn’t understand until after the resurrection. And in Mark 3:20–21 we read, “Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.
21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’” What he was saying and doing appeared unreasonable from their incomprehensible perspective.
It’s no different today. Devoted Bible scholars spend their life trying to unravel mysteries concerning who God is, why he does what he does, and the way that he relates to his creation. For generations they have debated the sovereignty of God and man’s freewill. We affirm the Trinity of God but can’t rationally figure it out. We know that Jesus Christ is going to return, but the date is a tantalizing mystery that keeps us holding our breath. Mike Mason has made the observation that, “Just as there are black holes in space that no telescope can ever probe, so there are depths to reality that theology tries to plumb but never can.”
The apostle Paul had a profound understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the nature of God. We read, reread, ponder, study, and seek to grasp what he writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yet, when he writes his letter to the Roman Christians he passionately exclaims,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:33–36 ESV)
The writer himself is overwhelmed with awe when he thinks about our Lord.
For us the question is, “What is my response to my sovereign Lord’s unreasonableness?” What is my response when he doesn’t act the way I think he should act? How do I act when he doesn’t answer my prayer the way I think he should? Am I like Ginny who stomps her foot in anger because her dad doesn’t do what she thinks he should do, because in her limited understanding she doesn’t realize that he is protecting her rather than punishing her? It saddens me to think of individuals I know who are mad at God because he didn’t do what they think he should have done. What a tragic loss for them.
It seems to me that our recognition that God’s wisdom and knowledge far outdistances ours should lead us to respond in certain ways.
First, it nurtures a humble, trusting spirit. I am honest about my extremely limited perspective on my Lord’s majesty, sovereignty, and wisdom. I am also honest about my own limited perspective. How many times have I misunderstood something the Lord orchestrated, only later to reflect and see how thankful I am that he saw the big picture that I couldn’t see at the time?
Second, it prompts me to worship. My heart is drawn in awe and gratitude to this Great Shepherd who lovingly, wisely and devotedly cares for his flock. I am surprised with joy when I see that he sees the big picture that I cannot see. I am grateful that I can entrust my life to him knowing that his word is dependable. He is the rock on which my life can be built.
Third, it challenges me to trust him when the way is difficult, unclear or disappointing. When we know that someone is in charge, capable, reliable and loving, then we can relax knowing that we are in safe hands. I recognize that he doesn’t need my counsel or approval to manage the universe.
Fourth, it challenges me to study the Word of God more diligently. Our gracious Lord has revealed much concerning himself and his ways that we can know and apply. The person who is ignorant of biblical truth is left to the influence of his own passions and anxiety, or the wisdom of a world that does not know God. Relying on other Christians is even questionable when they too are not basing their insight and counsel on the Word of God. He is my absolute authority on life.