I started kindergarten as the only kid in my class that could read books by herself. When I was in fourth grade, my classmates nicknamed me The Human Dictionary, and my teacher thought I had what it took to become America’s first female president (that’s a compliment, right?). In eighth grade, when I moved to a new middle school on the other side of the country, they had to ship me off to the high school each morning for an advanced math class no teacher at the middle school could/would teach. When high school graduation occurred, I was ranked #20 out of 436 students (top 5%). My bachelor’s degree was paid for by Crichton College, and I graduated with honors.
All that to say, a gigantic part of who I am is what I know and how well I express it. My feelings of self-worth, security, and pride all rest on my ability to excel intellectually.
And that’s a problem.
Because God doesn’t tell us everything.
We can’t know everything about Him, His Word, His ways, or His plans (Isaiah 55:9, Acts 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:25, Revelation 10:4).
And if our spiritual security rests in our ability to answer every question critics of Christianity propose, we may as well quit now.
Sometimes this truth paralyzes a knowledge-junkie like me. When I come across passages of Scripture that don’t make sense to me, or that seem to contradict other passages, or that flat out tell me I can’t know everything about God, I feel like I am free-falling in the most dangerous kind of way.
But if I push through that instability, I realize not being able to know it all is actually a gift. Because I am not able to know it, I don’t have to.
God has taken the pressure off of me to know everything about everything. I don’t have to know all the answers to all the questions about God. I don’t have to have sound arguments for every perplexing idea in Scripture. I don’t have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what I think about deep theological issues. There is no longer shame in uttering the phrase, “I don’t know.” I don’t have to feel like my faith is threatened when I can’t find satisfying, comprehensible answers all the time.
To be sure, I am not advocating blind faith or the lack of absolute truth. There are plenty of absolutes we can and need to know. I am simply saying that my identity and my salvation come from my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9), not from how sharp my intellect is on any given day.
We can’t know what God isn’t telling us. And I am thankful for that freedom.