Knowing an Unknowable God | The Speckled Goat: Knowing an Unknowable God


Knowing an Unknowable God

Sometimes, I look at the man sleeping in bed next to me and think, I don't really know him at all. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that in a negative way. Our relationship is really good (and I say that with lots of humility and the knowledge that without God and tons of grace, it would be impossible). My marriage is a very close one. We spend a lot of time together, and we love it. 

It's just that knowing someone completely is kind of impossible. Trevor surprises me every day- either with some beautifully creative aspect to his soul, an incredibly insightful comment, or simply with the depths of his compassion for other people. (Yes, I know... I'm so blessed by him!) 

After over two years of marriage, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I claim this deep relationship with him, but the truth is, he's complex. I know him so little. I'm still surprised, I'm still learning. 

And as wonderful as he is, Trevor's just a human. 

I also try to lay claim to another relationship, one even closer than my marriage. 

But here's the problem. 

I can't know Him completely, either.

"Just as you do not know the path of the wind or how bones are formed in the womb, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things." - Ecclesiastes 11:5

"No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." - Matthew 11:27

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
              How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
              “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
              “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
   For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen." - Romans 11:33-36

Even more than in my marriage, the complexities of God far outweigh what my very human mind can handle. I can't know Him completely. I'm too limited.

I'd like to know Him completely. I'd like to think that there's a formula for getting God to "work." That prayer + Bible reading = getting whatever I want. Or that Bible + service - complaining + remembering to send birthday cards = me being a good person.

And the problem's compounded by the fact that all of God's interactions with humanity include... humanity. And boy, we're messed up. We account things incorrectly, we miss the point, we look for the fire and the wind instead of the still small voice. Different faith traditions tell us different things, point to formulas that we've come up with  on our own so that we can handle the power and majesty that is God. (And then we fight about those traditions, which is an entirely different article). 

So, what am I supposed to do about it? 

I think throughout my spiritual walk, I've tried a lot of different things- putting God in a box, being overly mystical, trying to find absolute truth in what other people have written in spiritual self-help books...  but ultimately, I've found that, in getting to know God, I tend to follow the same sort of pattern as I do with getting to know my husband (with some very important exceptions, but you get it. Metaphor)

I follow Him around, try to take His words to heart. I see parts of His actions in my life and the lives of others. 
I read what He's said about Himself and try to learn His character. 
I plead when He seems quiet; "Tell me what You're thinking! Tell me how You're feeling! How can I make You happy?? Tell me what You want me to DO!" (Lucky Trevor, right?) 
And I try to find it in myself to be flexible, correctable. To continually change and grow to know my Unchanging God just a little deeper, just a little more. 

I think it was Ann Voskamp who wrote something about this process being like a spiral- around and around and re-learning and rediscovering and remembering and slowly, continually, getting to know Him in a deeper way.

That's what we're about, I think. Constantly learning, seeking a deeper relationship- even while acknowledging that our human minds are so limited and that we won't know Him in fullness until we get to be with Him. We strive to know an Unknowable God. 

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