You are the Known Unknowable.
The Unknowable Known.
And we, in our inquisitiveness, in our nosiness, in our insatiable quest for knowledge and knowledge and more knowledge,
find that to be a very hard thing.
Or, at least, I do. But I know there are many like me, too.
We are told, in some areas of scripture, that You are knowable–and certain. Solid. Unchanging. Reliable. Trustworthy. Knowable.
We see it in Jeremiah 9:23-24:
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
and also in Philippians 3:10:
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
And Scripture is truth. You are knowable.
And so, we seek you out. We study Your word, trusting it to be truth. We sit under sound teaching and preaching, trusting it to bring us closer to knowing you. We pray–and pray–seeking to sense Your presence. And we do–we sense your presence. Not always, but enough to know that it is unmistakably real; enough to push past our doubts.
And, we are grateful. We are so grateful, that you are knowable.
However, there is also a level of unknowability about You. You who created the earth and created us and who was before creation, You who are the Godhead three-in-one, a mystery unexplainable, You who are Omniscient and Omnipresent and so many other huge theological words that we can only scarcely grasp—there is an unknowability about You.
And we, who ponder too deeply, who want answers and explanations and what to be able to “fit” You into our definition search boxes and into our White-Board Columns succinctly and precisely—well, sometimes we flounder a bit.
There is even a theological term, for this unknowing of you–The Incomprehensibility of God.
There are things about You, that are beyond our ability to understand.
There are things about You, that are hidden from us. As it should be.
We see that in Deuteronomy 29:29–“29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God….”
And elsewhere, in broader strokes, as we contemplate words from the Prophets, as we gaze upon the cross and marvel at the sacrifice, as we read about the transfiguration and resurrection and ascension, as we wade deep into the words found in Revelation.
There are things we cannot know, answers we cannot grasp, concepts that are beyond our finite reach.
And, I suppose, we should feel comfort in that. Because, if these things were not so, then You would not be God.
And, O, my soul, we need you to be God.
And so tonight, I am taken by a prayer, written to you, by A.W. Tozer. Mainly, because it is most assuredly a prayer that I, myself, should pray. Regularly.
Maybe even every day.
Maybe even every morning.
Before the day gets away from me. And before my mind gets wrapped up in the unknowing.
Maybe these words, from Tozer, need to be my words, on a consistent basis:
“Teach us to know that we can not know, for the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Let faith support us where reason fails, and we shall think because we believe, not in order that we may believe.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Teach us to know that we can not know. And that it is ok. It is ok. Teach us to keep searching, to keep asking, to keep drawing near to You through prayer, through scripture work, through sitting under solid teaching, but please, O God, teach us this also–that we can not know. And then give us the faith required to support us. We like reason. We trust in reason, just as we trust in the chairs we sit in to hold us up. Grant us, through you mercy and grace, the faith required to support us, much like our favorite chairs support us.
Give us faith. We can not produce it, on our own.
And then remind us that our thinking should be because we believe, and not in order that we may believe.
Because, o God, I get that wrong, so often.