Yesterday I was listening to a podcast about how God speaks to us. The facilitators said we hear from God by reading the Bible and that it isn’t meant to be difficult. They said God doesn’t give answers in Scripture that are too hard to understand or that are “murky.” Although I love God, read my Bible almost daily and rely on my faith in Christ to do life, sometimes I do find the Bible confusing, complicated, and seemingly contradictory. I find it murky. So once again, as I listened to something I sort of believed, I found myself asking God to help my unbelief.
Later that day I was thinking about my trip to China. When people would ask me how it was, I struggled to respond. If I had three days to try and explain what we did, where we went, the emotions it conjured up in me, how much I loved the people I was traveling with and the ones I met and everything else about the trip, I wouldn’t have been able to.
How could I give words to describe how it felt to walk on the Great Wall of China with my children? How could I explain the relationships we forged with our hosts who did not speak English, but showed and showered us with unspoken thoughtfulness and love? How could I share the emotions I had looking into the broken and abandoned eyes of children at the orphanage we toured? What words could adequately describe how it felt when one of the orphans gave me a warm, spontaneous, and long-lingering hug before we left?
Similarly, when people asked me how I liked the Grand Canyon last spring, words like “amazing,” “incredible,” and “awesome” seem trite, cliché and ambiguous. Language cannot convey the incomprehensible largeness, sheer magnitude and the complete awe of the Grand Canyon. Mere adjectives cannot give justice to that which is bigger than we are, and more beautiful and indescribable than language can illustrate. Words are inadequate. They can be beautiful, deep, and expressive, but they’re also difficult, incomplete, and insufficient.
I realized after thinking about China that God doesn’t mean to make the Bible complicated or confusing. He isn’t trying to make us work hard to unpack the Bible to prove our devotion, dedication, or love. He isn’t trying to muddy the waters of our understanding. But He is God and I am not. If words cannot describe the Grand Canyon, how can they easily, quickly or completely explain the One who made it?
The more time I spend reading the Bible, confusing, difficult and murky as it sometimes seems, the more I’m learning to respect God’s incomprehensible largeness, grasp an infinitesimal amount of the magnitude of His magnitude and realize words cannot sufficiently, simply or adequately depict or describe God’s power, beauty, and love. The more I wrestle with what I struggle to believe, the more God seems to reveal Himself in a way I can understand.
Not because He has to, but because He wants to.