I am one of the least skilled laborers I know. Vehicle engines, network infrastructures, and indoor plumbing are lost on me.
There was this one time the toilet at the studio was acting up, and I took up the responsibility to research the problem and repair it. I don’t fully understand how the water and piping end of it works, but from what I could perceive, I was capable of making the necessary repairs. Now it doesn’t leak. Yuss.
Last night, I adjusted my one year old’s crib to the bottom notch using an allen wrench, because my daughter is getting way too close to pulling an acrobatic feet over the top rail. But someone else designed the crib; my version of it would look something like a wooden pallet, and I’d probably use glued-on PVC pipe for the bars or something.
I would like to believe my writing skills are sharp, however, and perhaps my guitar skills are adequate. In some domains, I am a “master”, but it doesn’t make me all knowing or cognizant of everything around me. My knowledge, even in the fields I major in, is limited at best.
In the same way, I think it’s interesting how many people look upon Christians and conceive in their mind that their moral compasses should always point true north, that their knowledge of the Bible is suddenly at the same level of familiarity and mastery as my Dragon Warrior series prowess (which, admittedly, I’ve spent a lot more time playing than I have reading the Bible). Of course, all followers of Jesus Christ should know His Word, but is there always instant understanding of it?
Questions like, “Why do people suffer if God is truly benevolent and omnipotent?” or “Is it free will or predestination?” bombard those who follow Jesus, usually coming from the strongholds of atheists or purported philosophers. It’s the same questions that have been posed by thinkers for centuries, many of which are unanswered and still debated hotly today.
The difference today is that these questions are typically asked with malice in mind, designed to trip up the believer and expose the “fatal” flaw: that, even with the all-knowing God within us, we don’t know it all.
Job is headlong into a similar philosophical wrestling match with his “friends” by the time chapter 12 rolls around. So far, Job is being outed as an unwitting, unrepentant sinner, while Job himself, recognizing his righteous standing before God, is really getting flattened in his own mind, wondering why God would run him over, and questioning his whole purpose for living altogether.
But things take a turn at this point, because he begins to recognize the sometimes confusing itinerary that is God’s ways. Verses 14-25 describes God’s vicious acts unto people, noble or not. It appears he acknowledges that some dimensions of God cannot be perceived. He summarizes this perspective in one verse:
With him are wisdom and strength
He has counsel and understanding.
The NIV translation phrases it, “counsel and understanding are his,” suggesting that God OWNS these things. He contains counsel and understanding, and Job admits, by default, that he himself does not.
Through the Spirit of God, believers are promised that they’re given words when questions are posed, and, by His will, I believe this happens. But sometimes the answers aren’t obvious, or they’re even hidden from us. Why?
Because we are not God.
The definitive challenge of striving man is that, even in his best efforts and research into the deep and vast, he cannot make encompassing conclusions about all things moral and created. God is greater.
And I’m okay with that. I cannot fathom the inner workings of an intake manifold, but it doesn’t mean I won’t start my car. And just because I cannot perceive the every corner of God’s methods doesn’t mean I will no longer trust Him.