Today begins the first full week of Lent. It also begins the crush to get out the first training manual for my new job. In an effort to deal with my first experience with moderately high blood pressure I have begun to ride our recumbent bike. Beginning this weekend, I dont watch television unless I am riding the bike. That meant two hours yesterday and an hour and forty minutes today. TIVO helped shorten the time, since I fast forward through the commercials. It will have two beneficial effects: I will watch less TV and I will get in pretty good shape and lose the weight I need to get rid of.
My friend, Paul ORear, had a slightly different take on my discussion of Job yesterday. Paul wrote:
When we first returned from Papua New Guinea due to Samuels health issues I was asked to teach in Tuulas [Paul’s wife, she is from Finland] church for several weeks. I was working through Job at the time as the circumstances prompted my need for wisdom and counsel. The #1 thing that God showed me was that essentially His only answer to all of Jobs questions was I AM.
Ultimately, God wants us to have everything in our lives hinged on our relationship with Him – the I AM. Adam and Eve dropped it by turning to the tree of knowledge – turning to facts, reason, explanations, etc. rather than to relationship with I AM. A relationship with a person is entirely different than a relationship to an explanation. [emphasis added]
Having our lives depend on that somewhat nebulous concept of a relationship with God is the Easiest Hardest thing in my opinion. Easy to conceive/Hard to get to and maintain. Or at least Hard in the sense of the difficulty of the things we need to let go of (continually) to have hands free enough to grab His.
Pauls son Samuel has a chromosome deletion disorder which means he requires constant care and he will never be able to take care of himself. Paul and Tuula had been Wycliffe Bible Translators until they had to return to the U.S. to take care of Samuel. So he knows from what he speaks.
I think that insight about the difference between knowing, in the intellectual sense, which is at the root of why, contrasted with knowing in the relational sense (which is very biblical) is an important point. I would argue we are called to know God both ways, which is the essence of J.I. Packer’s argument in Knowing God. But Paul and Packer both understand that the relationship comes first (to me salvation is essentially God establishing a relationship with us), and the other knowing comes only in context of that relationship, not instead or against it.
So, how well do you know God? I believe the more you know God the less you need to know the why’s and wherefore’s about everything else. You are willing to accept limits when you can trust the one you know.
I pray that you may, over the coming days, grow in your relationship, your knowing of the Great I AM, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may that give you peace you need, the peace that passes all understanding, when like Job, you hear God say, “No, you don’t need to know.” Amen.
Thanks, Paul. God be with you.