All The Things I Don’t Know

“Do you think things always have an explanation?”

“Yes, I believe they do. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”

“I like to understand things,” Meg said.

“We all do. But it isn’t always possible.”

I think re-reading one’s favorite childhood stories as an adult is a fascinating exercise. For me, the stories unravel the same way I remember them doing so, but little pieces of the characters I first related to have imprinted themselves onto my psyche in ways I could not have predicted.

My blunt temper and voracious need to understand? Thanks, in some part, to Meg Murry.

As a child, I often acted out her sentiment: “I like to understand things.” Especially in Sunday School. Why were there so many mysteries? If Jesus could explain things by parables, why didn’t He just explain everything in the Bible that way?

How could He be one person, but actually three? Why would He harden some people’s hearts in the Bible, but not others? How could those gross wafers church bought for Communion actually be His body?

Why would He let me sit here with all these questions and no answers?

In college, I held onto my questions even as I began to understand that not all things — in fact, most things — about God could or should be explained. During this time, a professor told me that although he believed in the infallibility of the Bible, he thought that people who treated it as a science or history book were oversimplifying things.

This struck a nerve. Infallible meant, by definition, completely trustworthy and true; without error. That meant that everything in it was the same, right?

“Well, yes,” he said. “But what is the Bible about?”

I looked at him blankly. “God?”

He nodded. “God creating and rescuing His creation. About Jesus. Think about it like this: You wouldn’t necessarily expect a biography about Albert Einstein to be full of extremely detailed information about his scientific discoveries, would you? There might be a bit of that, but the point of that book is not the science. The point of it is Einstein’s story.

“Everything written in the Bible is trustworthy and true. But our need for scientific or historical or sometimes even some theological answers isn’t the whole reason it was written, though it certainly contains those truths. The Bible isn’t there to answer all our questions or satisfy our curiosity. It’s there to teach us about and point us back to our Creator and Savior.”

I still have a list of constantly-growing questions to ask once I get to Heaven. Some of them are for other people, but most of them are for God. The funny thing is that I think once I actually get there, my questions probably won’t matter to me any more. And maybe that’s the truth of the answers we all seek: In the end, when we are forever united with our Heavenly Father, He will Himself be the answer that finally, truly, and fully satisfies us.

“Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask — half our great theological and metaphysical problems — are like that.”

A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis

Yesterday, I was thinking through all the things I needed to do to prepare for this Easter weekend: cooking for potlucks, buying white cloth and lilies, reading through the Scripture I will be reading aloud on Good Friday, etc. I was thinking about this last to-do, wondering if I would have to read Jesus’s desperate words as He hung on the cross and hoping I’d be able to keep my voice steady, when a song by the band Joseph cycled through my playlist.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes before I fully understood why.

There’s still those two thoughts / one after the other: 
I’m alone — No, you’re not.
I’m alone — No, you’re not. 
I’m alone — No, you’re not.
I’m alone — No, you’re not.

Surely, this is one question among many that Jesus has answered for me.

God, I’m alone.

No, Chelsey, you’re not.

And surely, this is one question that Jesus cried out to His Father and one answer that was radically different that awful day on that awful cross, only for Him, and it was because of and for me.

God, I’m alone.

Yes, Son, You are.

Now that I’m a bit older, my questions have moved on from silly things like “Can God make a rock so big even He can’t move it?” to more serious things like:

“Why don’t You do something about all this suffering?”

“Why did paying for my sins have to be so bloody?”

“Why do You love me?”

This last one is most heavily on my mind this Holy Week. Think about it. Do you know the answer? Time after time, I’ve been told that I am loved by God. But I have never heard a satisfactory answer as to why I am loved.

The answer given to me in the Bible is that I am loved because I am His child. But that somehow still doesn’t make sense to me, because I didn’t earn that title by being good or honest or kind or worthy. It was given to me freely, even when I was/am a miserable sinner. I was lost, and now I’m found. I was a stranger, a foreigner, but I am now considered a daughter, a citizen of the chosen nation. I am unlovely but loved, completely and forever and without reservation.

These Easter truths still don’t make sense.

But that doesn’t mean they are any less true.

Thank you for reading!


The Black Mirror-ing of Christianity ← P R E V I O U S

N E X T → Mrs. Walther’s Favorite Song