My father was a wise man with a wide range of Biblical understanding and knowledge, consequently people were always going to him with questions. If you began, “May I ask you a question?”, he would invariably reply, “I reserve the right not to know the answer!” He came from a generation of ministers and leaders who felt they had to have an answer for everything; that somehow, they had failed if they admitted to not knowing. The more knowledgeable my father became, the more aware he was of the vastness of mystery and understanding in the scriptures. He knew it was impossible for one person to have all the answers; he was comfortable admitting, “I don’t know!”
When Yahweh asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?”, Ezekiel gave the only possible answer, “Sovereign [Yahweh], you alone know.” [Ezekiel 37:3]. Are you ever confronted with problems, situations or questions where you feel you must have answers? It would be strange if you were not. If only Yahweh would answer our questions about that unsaved family member, that difficult child, that sick loved one, or that problematic situation, we would know what to do, or how to act. But - must I be ‘doing’? Or can I relax, with trust and confidence, into ‘You alone know’?
My father often preached, “We don’t work for Yahweh, we work with Him!” [2 Corinthians 6:1]. I struggled to understand the difference, until I realised that it’s much easier to do something, than rest in trust; so easy to mistake panic for inspiration; so difficult to relax in not knowing. I was startled to read, recently, “The degree of panic is the degree of the lack of personal spiritual experience.” [Oswald Chambers] The more we learn of Yahweh the more content we are to leave things in His hands. What a challenge to consider that we would far rather work for Him than believe in Him.
Working with someone successfully requires mutual trust, shared responsibility, interaction, bonding and a steady growing together. It’s awesome to think that, whilst expecting this of us, Yahweh also offers it to us! It gives us the confidence to admit, when appropriate, ‘I don’t know!’
Photo copyright Valerie Warsop, "Valerie's Father, Peter"