Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Do I Have to Understand Why?
Reflections on Job 38:1 – 40:5
I am able to understand many things. What I don’t understand, I analyze --- or pray about --- until I do see more clearly. And if I can justify my actions by logic or fact, then I wish others to do so also. But it has always been a battle for me, when I said: Here are the facts to justify my actions, and then someone responded with: “But this is how I feel”. Feel? But look at the facts, I thought; show me where I’m wrong, I said. And the response I sometimes heard to my challenge was: “You don’t love me.”
I suspect you’ve heard those words too, or seen them in the eyes of someone.
Job spoke to God as I often do, stating the facts, but God, being God, COULD articulate His “facts” in response: He showed Job the beauty of His creation, the much bigger picture than the few facts Job could perceive or understand. God showed Job the love that existed in the beauty of His creation, His creative actions done for Job. Job could not understand the immensity of God’s creation, but he could feel it, and that feeling was powerful. Beauty, love, and feelings CAN trump the cold facts of men.
Job was humbled. I find it’s sometimes hard for me to be humbled, when I begin to analyze things.
I can look down on the men who consider the facts of science and evolution and who say: “These are the facts. There is no proof of God.” I consider them stupid for not seeing beyond their pitiful science, but now having reflected on Job, I can look in the mirror and see who is really stupid.
Even as I sometimes demand more than just “feelings” from someone I love, I CAN sometimes see the power of things beyond facts. I can, with great confidence confront the wise scientist and explain the things that exist beyond the earthly facts he can measure.
If I can so confidently speak of my feelings there, of things beyond facts to him, why cannot I more easily understand the feelings of others, feelings their words cannot convey, real facts in their hearts, which sometimes can only be seen through their tears --- or through their anger at my stubbornness. Especially with those I love, why do I so often demand an answer to my logical, true facts? If someone who loves me opposes my will, my reasonable, logical desires, why do I have to understand why?
Why do I have to understand why, beyond the knowledge that they love me?
Job asked God to answer Job’s logic and reasoning about why God was permitting so much pain in Job’s life. God’s answer to Job was basically: “Because I feel this is the right thing to do for you at this time.” Job was angry with God, because God didn’t present Job with any logic or reasoning that Job could understand, and so God then spoke words which only began to describe God’s feelings. God showed Job some of the immenseness and beauty of creation, and then He asked Job: “Now do you understand?” And of course Job didn’t, but what Job did understand was that the love of God was so immensely beyond him that he could NEVER understand it. Job was humbled at the love of God, and could speak no more of his pitiful “facts and reasoning.”
Why can’t I learn, like Job, when to shut my mouth? Why does my “great” logic and reasoning have to win every argument? Why are my feelings --- backed by stated facts --- so much more important than others’ feelings, backed by an unstated fact: they love me?
In every relationship there will be disagreements. There are so many arguments to be won. Why? “Love conquers all” is the saying. Isn’t that which should win? “Never go to bed mad” is said to be a formula for a long and happy marriage. How many couples never go to bed, however, without first plotting their strategy, the “facts” for their next round of a continuing argument?
Job was humbled by God’s love. Isn’t any love between two human beings humbling? Isn’t love “giving without counting the cost”? Being humbled means we value the other person more than ourselves. Isn’t that what love is?
Why do we find it so hard to act that way?
Why, sometimes, do we, in our relationships with our spouses, our parents, our kids, or our friends need to know why they are opposed to our facts. Why do we demand they explain their thoughts to us?
“Love grows” is another saying. It refers to the fact that over time loved ones grow in the knowledge of one another. “They’re so much alike; so much in love” is a phrase often used to describe old, long-married couples. They’re alike because over the years they’ve grown in the knowledge of one another --- but neither will ever totally “know” the mind of the other, just as Job recognized he could never know the mind of God.
Yet like the married couple, Job, and you and I, can continue to grow in knowledge, to grow in love. We can live and act as someone who IS loving. We can let love trump our need for logic.
Love is patient; love is kind ….
Love is commanded for all our neighbors, for all we meet. Love doesn’t win every argument. Love doesn’t have to know “why”. Love just has to act with love.
It is logical beyond all understanding.